This Week’s Snag Film: Unfinished Symphony

This week’s offering from Snag Films is Unfinished Symphony, an emotional, poetic, and lyrical journey back in time to reflect on the Vietnam War.

The film is divided into three sections which mirror the movements of Henryk Gorekis Symphony No. 3, the Symphony of Sorrowful Songs, to which the film is set. The film focuses on a three-day protest in the form of a march, staged by newly returned veterans. Reversing the same path as Paul Revere’s famous ride of 1775, the mounted protest sought to bring renewed awareness to a long-fought, losing battle. Festivals Played: Sundance Film Festival – January 2001, Woods Hole Film Festival – July 2001.

Remember, you can watch free documentaries any time and share documentary films with the Snag Films Virtual Theater.

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Dinner, Magic, Concerts…and Minute to Win It!

We have a lot going on at our USO Centers across the country and we wanted to let you know about some opportunities!

Tonight, USO of Metropolitan Washington invites wounded warriors, active duty military, and family members to “Anything is Possible” with Giovanni Livera!  Attendees will enjoy a delicious pasta dinner and an evening of astonishment with this talented and inspiring magician.

The event will take place at the Old Red Cross Building, #41, at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.  Dinner is served at 6pm and the performance begins at 7pm.  For additional information contact Meghan Hardgrove at 703-696-0717

USO of New England is proud to offer two great late summer concerts for service members: Get your tickets to Ozzfest and The Jonas Brothers today!

Ozzfest features Motley Crue, Halford, Devildriver, Nonpoint, Black Label Society, Drowing Pool and more and takes place on Tuesday, August 24th at 1:00PM at the Comcast Center in Mansfield, MA. Parking lots open 10:30AM, Doors 12:00PM.  Active duty and reserve can obtain 6 tickets maximum by using USO of New England’s online ticketeting system.  Tickets must be picked up at the Comcast Center Will-Call Ticket Window with military ID when you arrive.

Active and reserve military can also get up to 4 tickets  to see Jonas Brothers with Demi Lovato in concert on Thursday, August 26th at 7:00PM at the Comcast Center.  Parking lots open 4:30PM, Doors 6:00PM.  Tickets must be ordered at the USO online ticket system and picked up at the Comcast Will Call Ticket Window with military ID when you arrive.  Get your tickets today to two of summer’s hottest shows!

If you’re not in the DC or MA areas, don’t worry!  We still have some fun in store for you, because tonight on Minute to Win It,  Miss USA Kristen Dalton will be playing for…the USO!

This week the show is featuring “The Girls of Summer.” For three nights starting Monday, brains, beauty, and skills will clash head to head on Minute to Win It.  Check out the preview below and be sure to cheer on Miss USA tonight!

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2010 Regional Volunteers of the Year

To recognize the outstanding contributions of our volunteers, USO centers from our four operating regions—Stateside, Europe, Southwest Asia, and the Pacific—nominate a volunteer for “Volunteer of the Quarter” four times a year. This individual has gone above and beyond in supporting our troops and demonstrating their commitment to the USO mission.  From this group of outstanding volunteers a “Volunteer of the Year” is then selected for each region..and here they are!

One of these amazing four finalists will be selected as the USO Volunteer of the Year, and they’ll be honored at our annual USO Gala in October.  Congratulations finalists – we’re so proud of you!

Herb Schmeling – United States USO Volunteer of the Quarter

USO Puget Sound Area (USO PSA) volunteer, Herb Schmeling continuously gives his all to the USO, putting our nation’s service members first. As one of the center’s most committed volunteers, he regularly gives 60-80 hours a month, and is always available at a moments notice. He represents USO PSA at Combined Federal Campaign events and Family Deployment Fairs, making sure the Fort McChord military community is aware of USO PSA’s programs and services. He was also instrumental in successful Thanksgiving and Christmas food drives, helping serve holiday meals to more than 400 military families.

Affectionately called the “Godfather of Fort Lewis,” Herb was honored for his exceptional efforts, being selected as Fort Lewis’ Volunteer of the Year for 2008.  USO PSA is extremely thankful for the commitment and enthusiasm that Herb displays on an ongoing basis. He inspires everyone around him and is an excellent pick for the Stateside Volunteer of the Quarter!

May Grace Enjambre – Europe USO Volunteer of the Quarter

As a single service member living far from her family in the Philippines, May Grace Enjambre knows first hand how difficult it is to be in a new place, separated from loved ones. When she first arrived at her duty station in Naples, it was a bit tough. But like so many of the remarkable men and women serving our country, May decided to use her time to help other troops and their families by volunteering with USO Naples.

May is the center’s Publicity Coordinator, working with the Armed Forces Network and the local public affairs office to inform the local Naval Support Activities center about the USO and its programs.  Despite working two jobs, May gives up her weekends to volunteer with the USO. She’s volunteered more than 600 hours assisting over 4,000 in-transit passengers and 1,000 families during USO events. With young people like May serving in our armed forces, we can rest easier knowing that we are in trusted hands.

SSgt. Shaina Newton – Southwest Asia USO Volunteer of the Quarter

Staff Sergeant Shaina Newton is a remarkable service member who truly enjoys supporting fellow troops. When she’s not working 12-hour shifts at her regular duty station, she’s at USO Baghdad, where she averages 64 hours per month, making sure the USO center feels like a “home away from home.”

Shaina is constantly coming up with new initiatives to help lift the spirits of her comrades.  She created a revised volunteer database that maps out daily volunteer and visitor trends. This system helps the center predict needs and determine volunteer recruitment goals.  Not only does she bring her wonderful creativity and good nature to our operations, but she has saved USO Baghdad countless hours in tracking and managing volunteers. Shaina Newton’s contributions to the USO are a testament to her exceptional character and we applaud her service to the center and to our nation.

Sanae Ogawa – Pacific USO Volunteer of the Quarter
Affectionately known as “Sunny” by her peers and center colleagues, Sanae Ogawa volunteers nearly 90 hours a month to the USO. Her local connections have proved vital persuading local businesses to financially support the USO.  During the Thanksgiving holiday celebration, she volunteered to help serve more than 250 single and unaccompanied sailors. During the annual Cookie Caravan event, she helped bake and distribute more than 4,000 bags of homemade cookies.

Sanae also was an integral part of USO Sasebo’s “Christmas Talk With Your Mouth Full” event, arriving at 5:30 a.m. to help set up and feed more than 300 sailors on Christmas morning. She continuously demonstrates her commitment to the USO and our men and woen in uniform.

Don’t Miss “Wounded in Action,” on Exhibit at Walter Reed

Below-Knee Prosthetic with U.S. Marine Corps and Purple Art by Daniel Horkey. (Photo courtesy NMHM website)

The National Museum of Health & Medicine offers a diverse array of permanent and rotating exhibits and events on the grounds of Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC.  On display until November 28, 2010 is “Wounded in Action: An Art Exhibition of Orthopaedic Advancements,” named as one of this week’s “Art Picks” by the Washington City Paper.

Reviewer John Anderson calls the items on display “an artistic look at the role orthopedic surgeons play in the recovery of veterans and civilians during armed conflict. Created by service members, doctors, and civilians, some work is naïve and precious, while others possess a fantastic realism and movingly document the recovery from trauma. When so much of military action is trivialized by the nightly news and glorified in cinema, this exhibition personally confronts the realities of the veterans, surgeons, and civilians caught in the crossfire of war.”

Additional art installations are at the University of Maryland Health Sciences Library and Southern Management Corporation Campus Center in Baltimore through Veterans Day.  Whether you’re visiting or staying with a loved one at Walter Reed, traveling through the DC area, or a local looking for a powerful artistic display of the sacrifices of our Troops, we encourage you to explore this exhibit all that the National Museum of Health and Medicine has to offer.

“Fort Knox” is Now in Stars & Stripes!

We just received word  from “Fort Knox” comic strip creator and military brat, Paul Jon, that as of August 1st, Stars and Stripes newspaper is carrying his funny, family friendly, a personal favorite of ours. Be sure to check it out!

You can contact Paul Jon on his Facebook fanpage and you can also download his USO-inspired coloring sheets by clicking on the image below.  They print out on standard-size paper and are perfect for tucking into a letter or care package!

If your kids are having fun coloring these, let us know!  Snap a pic of your kiddo with his/her crayons and send it to us in an email.  We’ll feature some of our favorites in a future blog…

Strong Partnership Connects Service Members, Families with Support Resources

By  David J. McIntyre, TriWest Healthcare Alliance

They wear our nation’s uniform in defense of our freedoms—and in turn, it’s our responsibility as fellow Americans to provide assistance and resources to the military members and their families who sacrifice so much in service to our great country whenever and wherever we can.

TriWest Healthcare Alliance has enjoyed a long-standing relationship with the USO, partnering in a variety of venues and initiatives to help support service members. And that’s why we are particularly honored to share the USO’s goal of caring for the emotional well-being of our nation’s military members and families—and through our ongoing partnership, we intend to help break down the stigma that seeking out behavioral health services carries in the military’s culture.

Teaming up with the USO last year, we were able to jointly establish a behavioral health pilot in October at four USO Centers, equipping USO staff and volunteers with a collection of resources—DVDs, handouts, web resources and an educational module.

These resources provide USO staff and volunteers with tools on how to best help service members and their spouses during a potential time of need, assisting in our goal of doing whatever we can to stem the alarming rise in the amount of suicides, relationship problems and substance abuse our nation’s military is facing.

We are incredibly proud that the behavioral-health initiative recently expanded to 17 additional USO Centers in the Western United States, bringing added resources to thousands more military members and their families during their time of potential need. Learn more about the added sites here. Resources include information on 24/7/365 video and chat resources to talk about stress, viewable video demonstrations and more.

It’s with great excitement that we are able—together—to assist more of our military members and families through the behavioral-health initiative and its expansion. But even more so, we are privileged and honored to be able to stand in support of our Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, Airmen, Coast Guardsmen and spouses who have given so much. Thank you for your service to your country.

David J. McIntyre, Jr., is a member of the USO Board and is President and CEO of TriWest Healthcare Alliance, which partners with the Department of Defense to do “Whatever It Takes” to support the healthcare needs of 2.7 million members of America’s military family. A Phoenix-based corporation, TriWest provides access to cost-effective, high-quality health care in the 21-state TRICARE West Region. Follow TriWest on Twitter and Facebook, or visit for more information.