VFW Firefighter of the Year Recognized for USO Volunteerism

Recently named Price George's County VFW Firefighter of the Year, Nicole Orme, stands among troops at Ft. Meade during a USO Thanksgiving Dinner there.

She is a wife, a mother, a firefighter and fund raiser.

Don’t forget patriot and volunteer.

Nicole Orme doesn’t have any family or close friends in the military, but she feels giving back to those who sacrifice so much for us is just “the right thing to do.”

We agree. And so does the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

In fact, the VFW recently recognized Orme as Firefighter of the Year in Prince George’s County, Maryland, for volunteering at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and with the USO of Metropolitan Washington at Fort Meade.

“Orme has as a history of serving our fellow soldiers,” said the VFW in a press release. “She makes her family, Department, and community very proud.”

Last year Orme mobilized the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department and her local community to create and send military care packages to hundreds of troops serving overseas through her local USO. One soldier even took the time to write her back, thanking her and letting her know how much his whole unit appreciates the care packages.

“When he returned to the States, I had the opportunity to meet him in person,” said Orme. “He brought me back a flag that was flown above his post. I cherish that flag so much. Every time I see it, my heart is warmed knowing that I brought a smile to that soldier when he needed it most.”

She has made multiple visits to the fourth floor of the military hospital to present care packages to wounded warriors and their families, and she has worked extensively with the USO at Fort Meade, coordinating multiple dinners during Thanksgiving and Christmas, feeding hundreds of soldiers unable to go home for the holidays.

At an awards ceremony last month, each of the four VFW post commanders in Prince George’s County presented Orme with a separate certificate and monetary gift for her selfless contributions to our men and women in uniform.

“I am both humbled and grateful to be recognized for doing something I absolutely love,” said Orme. “I always wanted to say ‘thank you’ to our men and women in uniform, and the easiest way to do that was to get involved with the USO. The fact is, if people like us don’t do this, no one will.” – By Joseph Andrew Lee, USO Staff Writer

Supporting Military Families at USO Ft. Hood

Families gather to enjoy USO Fort Hood’s “Movies on the Lawn.”

There is a good reason the staff at USO Fort Hood know how important a sense of community is for our troops and their families.

Many of them are military wives.

They know firsthand what it is like to be away from their husbands and see their children coping with long deployments.

Their experiences have inspired the passionate crew to create two programs that help foster a stronger sense of community for the 46,000 service members and families at Fort Hood.

Their signature event for families, “Movies on the Lawn,” gives parents and their children the opportunity to enjoy a monthly movie on the big screen without the cost of tickets, food, and refreshments.

Director of USO Fort Hood, Robin Crouse, knows going to the movies is a luxury many military families cannot afford, and that was one of these reasons Crouse and her team were inspired to create the program last year.

Thanks to Crouse’s efforts, sponsors, and generous in-kind donations, USO Fort Hood is able to provide families a complete outdoor movie experience with popcorn, candy, nachos, sidewalk chalk, drinks, and more.

With so many components to this program, Crouse said it took some trial and error at first to work out the logistics of “Movies on the Lawn.”

But from the beginning, it was a treasure enjoyed by military families throughout Fort Hood.

It did not take long for news about the USO’s amazing program to spread. When the final movie aired last year, over 750 parents and children gathered to watch.

USO Fort Hood is excited to kick off their movie extravaganza this April, and they will continue playing movies into the fall.

Military children at USO Fort Hood enjoy “StoryTime”

While “Movies on the Lawn” has been a wonderful success for military families, Crouse says there is one program that is the favorite of moms with preschool-age children – “Story Time.”

Held twice a month in the 1st Cavalry Soldier, Family Readiness Center, this program serves 50 families each session and has become so popular that USO Fort Hood has to keep a waiting list.

Created for pre-school children up to four years old, “Story Time” begins with a small breakfast of muffins and cheerios for everyone.

Then, a special guest reads the story out loud to the mothers and children, who have books in-hand to follow along.

Once the story is finished children have an activity or time to socialize together.

Crouse knows from her own experience as a military wife, that mothers and children need an outlet, and time away from their homes to socialize.

For military families at Fort Hood, “Story Time” is more than just a way to promote early reading.

It’s a time for military children and mothers to connect with each other and establish relationships with people who are going through the same struggles that come with the military lifestyle.

Like the many amazing USO programs around the world, USO Fort Hood’s “Movies on the Lawn” and “Story Time” are a prime example of the USO’s commitment to supporting our nation’s troops and their families.

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For more pictures, visit USO Fort Hood’s Facebook page.

- Sarah Camille Hipp, Communications Specialist