Barbecue for the Troops: Best Baked Beans Ever

Have you signed up to host a Barbecue for the Troops for the summer yet? Be sure to use one of our amazing recipes! And here’s another, straight from the frontlines! Our troops may not always have a gourmet kitchen, but they have come up with some ingenious ways to cook up a storm!

Best Baked Beans Ever

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Ingredients

1 (12 oz.) can SPAM chopped

1 Tbsp molasses (you can substitute brown sugar or syrup)

1 Tbsp chili sauce

2 (15 oz.) cans baked beans

Optional 2 coarsely chopped onions

Cooking Instrument

Crock-Pot

 Directions

Preheat Crock-Pot on high setting.  (If you are using onions, microwave onions with some water until translucent.)  Combine all ingredients into the Crock-Pot and cook for 1 hour.  Stir as needed.  Reduce heat on Crock-Pot to low or warm.

Coca-Cola 600, Ride 2 Recovery Memorial Challenge Highlight Memorial Day Weekend

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Kat and Staff Sgt. Aaron Causey at the Coca-Cola 600. USO Photo by Katie Whitlow

Army Staff Sgt. Aaron Causey, his wife, Kat, and USO Senior Vice President of Operations Alan Reyes represented the organization Sunday at the Coca-Cola 600 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in Charlotte, N.C.

Causey – who was wounded in Afghanistan – served as the event’s grand marshal and, along with his wife and Reyes, got to yell “drivers: start your engines” at the beginning of the race.

It’s the third straight year Coke has invited the USO to be the race’s grand marshal. The two American institutions have been partners since 1941.

“At Coke, we’ve always supported the military through the USO,” said Erika Von Heiland Strader, Director-Community Marketing for Coca-Cola North America, in an interview last week. “That’s why we make sure the USO is an integral part of the Coke 600.”

Ride 2 Recovery Memorial Challenge

USO partner Ride 2 Recovery held its Memorial Challenge on Monday in Washington. The ride – which was 41 miles from Arlington to Manassas, Va. – was another avenue through which the organizations help our wounded, ill and injured troops retake control of their lives.

Part of the physical health and recreation initiatives sponsored by the USO Warrior and Family Care, Ride 2 Recovery helps improve the health and wellness of America’s healing troops through challenge races that test endurance as a way to build physical confidence.

Program partners since 2007, the USO provides funds for bikes for some Ride 2 Recovery participants (both traditional and adaptive) along with day-of-event support. In 2012, the USO supported seven Ride 2 Recovery events with snacks and rest areas. Throughout the year, USO centers will host events – including dinners and fun activities – for Ride 2 Recovery cyclists as they come ride through their geographic areas.

FIJI Islander Events Raise Over $10k for USO South Carolina

Get together for the troops!

Get together for the troops!

The stakes were high as the brothers of Phi Gamma Delta at the College of Charleston started planning their FIJI Islander event to support the USO.  They knew they wanted to go big in support of America’s troops and families.  And big they went.  They didn’t just hold one event.  No!  They held at least one event every day for an entire week and in the end donated over $10,000 to support USO South Carolina.

FIJI Islander week kicked off on Sunday April 14th with a basketball tournament. The hoops for troops event offered cash prizes and a trophy for the winners.  Before the FIJI brothers could reap the success of their first event they were on to event number two.  On Monday, students on campus lined up for a rare opportunity to dunk a princess in the dunk tank.  As you can imagine, this was a popular event.  Later that night the fundraising continued as everyone headed over to Freshberry where a percentage of the proceeds went to support the USO.

Moving on to day three of fundraising, on Tuesday night, a percentage of the proceeds from dinner at Boones supported the USO.    Then on Wednesday, a school yard event we all loved as children — a kickball tournament – would get sororities and fraternities on the field together kicking a ball around for a good cause.

This fraternity isn’t done yet.  On Thursday campus beauties participated in the Princess Pageant complete with talent competition.  And Finally on Saturday the big finale FIJI Islander party to celebrate a week of successful fundraising.

This FIJI chapter’s donation will go to support troops where it is needed most.  Today’s USO is always by their side, continuously adapting to the needs of our troops and their families by supporting and comforting, connecting and entertaining in new and imaginative ways. USO’s programs and services are made possible by the support of donors like these. - Lisa Ferrari Carter, USO Relationship Manager, Clubs & Organizations

South Carolina Congressman Assembles USO Care Packages that May Find Way to His Son in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Joe Wilson was all smiles at last Wednesday’s Operation USO Care Package Service Project on Capitol Hill. But his reason for being there was serious.

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Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) jokes around with photographers at the Operation USO Care Package Service Project on May 22 in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C. USO photo by Mike Theiler

Wilson, who served 31 years in the South Carolina National Guard before retiring as a colonel in 2003, has deep family roots in America’s armed forces.

“I’m particularly grateful to be here, not just as a member of Congress, but as a military family,” Wilson said at the event, which took place in the foyer of the Rayburn House Office Building. “I have four sons currently serving in the military. One is [in Afghanistan] today. So one of these packages could easily end up with him.”

The seventh-term Republican from South Carolina’s 2nd District praised the work he’s seen the USO do for troops and families not only overseas, but also in his home state. USO of South Carolina opened a new center in the Columbia Metropolitan Airport in 2010, and will be unveiling updates to that center on Friday.

“I’m just such a fan of USO,” he said. “As I travel the country, as I travel the world – beginning in my home community in Columbia, South Carolina – we have a USO canteen at the airport. It’s the most prominent location in the airport and we are very grateful, particularly with the trainees coming into Fort Jackson, [that] they are welcomed by USO right away.

“It shows the appreciation of the warriors who maintain our freedom.”

–Story by Eric Brandner, USO Director of Story Development

The 2013 USO Fourth of July Tee

calloutYou’ve stepped up and been there for our troops time and time again.

Now, we need your help to send our troops a powerful July 4th message: Wherever they’re serving, we’re always by their side.

You can help by proudly wearing the USO’s 2013-edition July 4th t-shirt which I am unveiling today. This year’s design was chosen by our troops, who sent in their votes from USO centers at bases around the world. I can’t think of anything I’d be more proud to wear on July 4th than a shirt chosen by our troops that supports our troops!

Send a donation to get your 2013-edition of the USO’s July 4th t-shirt — selected by our men and women in uniform.

Our troops are serving all around the world, from South Korea to Afghanistan to bases across the United States.

And thanks to people like you, the USO is always by their side.

From providing care packages, to making free phone calls back home, to supporting our wounded, ill or injured troops, you and the USO are having a powerful impact on the lives of our troops and their families. Let’s make sure this July 4th, they know we’ll always be there and we’ve got their back.

Donate $25 or more to support our troops. We’ll rush your 2013 limited-edition USO t-shirt to you in time for July 4th.
- Kelli Seely, Senior Vice President, Chief Development Officer, USO

Barbecue for the Troops: Jennifer Behm’s Rib Brine Recipe

Time to gear up for Memorial Day weekend! If you’ve signed up to host your own Barbecue for the Troops this weekend, we’re here to help make sure it’s a hit!

Screen Shot 2013-05-23 at 12.05.43 PMToday we’re sharing celebrity chef Jennifer Behm’s Special Rib Brine Recipe on our Barbecue for the Troops site today – be sure to check it out!