Win Kellie Pickler’s Truck (and Help the USO in the Process)

For the last year, critically acclaimed country music singer Kellie Pickler has been driving a Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn truck courtesy of Ram. Now, you have the chance to win it at auction.

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Pickler received a yearlong lease on the truck with the understanding that the vehicle would go up for auction in early 2013 to raise money for the organization of her choice. Pickler – a USO tour veteran – is putting the auction proceeds toward USO Warrior and Family Care, a comprehensive long-term initiative helping to provide wounded, ill and injured troops with the hope and confidence to sustain their journey towards a full and rewarding life.

“I love everything there is to love about my Ram Truck,” Pickler said in a release. “And I have to be honest I am a little sad about giving it up but its for a great cause, and we really want to raise a lot of money for the USO, so please log on and bid.”

Bidding starts today at 7 p.m. ET and will conclude at 7 p.m. ET on Feb. 1. Visit this link – or click on the photo – for more details.

Faces of the USO: A New Way to Serve

Screen Shot 2013-01-17 at 2.22.26 PMElizabeth Vallette’s first experience with the USO wasn’t exactly life-changing, but it lifted the spirits of a cash-poor West Point cadet making her way through an airport en route to a training assignment.

“Another cadet came running … up the terminal at us, screaming ‘Free hot dogs at the USO,’” Vallette said.

Later, during a 12-month deployment to Iraq with III Corps in 2004, the USO brought comedian Robin Williams to her base in Baghdad. “His show was perfect timing,” Vallette said. “It was just sinking in that things were not going well. We really needed the pick-me-up, and he delivered.”

After leaving the Army, Vallette spent time as an MBA student at the University of Houston and worked for a Canadian nonprofit in Kabul, Afghanistan.

When the project ended, she saw a job listing for a center director at USO Houston.“It hadn’t ever really occurred to me that you could actually work for the USO … and get paid,” she said.

Since July 2011, she has led a team that serves nearly 35,000 troops and family members with the help of a team of 400 volunteers.

Anyone who wants a taste of Vallette’s Houston hospitality should check out the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo’s World’s Championship in February and checkout the USO’s entry in the bar-b-cue contest. – Derek Turner, USO Sr. Editor