During the month of September, our team at USO Okinawa worked hard to upgrade and renovate the USO AMC terminal at Kadena AFB with the special help of a few great volunteers who took charge to make it all happen.
This project was spearheaded by my wife Debbie Kolstad (wife of USO Regional Vice President for the Pacific Thomas Kolstad), volunteer coordinator Shirley Smiley and her husband Tom Smiley, and AMC Command Billy Fisher from DRMO. They cleaned, sorted, scrubbed, painted, selected furnishings, and arranged and decorated with all of the new furniture.
It was truly a collaborative effort, with Air Mobility Command (AMC) helping to provide for the furniture and fixtures; the Air Force donating and installing carpet for the luggage room; donations of three appliances and a 42″ TV; and donated paint applied – along with wall decor – by the volunteers. The space was completed with 17 USO posters from the Arlington. A huge thank you goes out to each and every volunteer who helped make this happen!
As reported by Airman 1st Class Maeson L. Elleman, 18th Wing Public Affairs, thousands of travelers pass through Kadena’s Air Mobility Command passenger terminal. The journey usually includes waiting hours on end before heading to their final destinations.
“It looks really nice, and it’s an inviting place,” Brig. Gen. Ken Wilsbach, 18th Wing commander said at the ribbon cutting ceremony Sep. 20. “In the past, maybe people wouldn’t have used it because it wasn’t as nice, but now it’s more inviting and more comfortable. Volunteers put their hearts and souls into making it a nice place for Airmen and their families to rest.”
The USO has been a part on Okinawa for more than 50 years, providing servicemembers with an entourage of assistance and information to help ease the burdens of traveling.
“If you just pop in on a Space-A flight, and you end up spending a night, you don’t necessarily know where everything is, so it’s a great source of information,” stated General Wilsbach.
The terminal USO is open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Gardner Williams, manager of the AMC terminal and Gate 2 USOs, said people can volunteer to help the USO to keep it open longer or more days by going by either USO on base and filling out a volunteer form. People can also donate money or baked goods to either USO to support servicemembers and their families.