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