40 Years of Solutions: USO Okinawa’s Kina Much More Than an Electrician

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By all accounts, Seifuku Kina embodies the spirit of the USO.

USO Okinawa’s jack-of-all-trades is marking his 40th anniversary with the organization this month. The celebrations started with an award presentation by USO President Sloan Gibson last week at USO Futenma and will culminate the last full week of July, when he’ll travel to each of Okinawa’s five centers for small celebrations in his honor.

Kina – who lost four uncles in World War II’s Battle of Okinawa – went to work for the U.S. Army as a contractor after the war ended to help support his parents and six younger siblings. He learned his technical skills through a combination of books, observation and trial and error. While working for the Army, Kina started helping out at the USO in his off hours, and was hired July 20, 1973 as a part-time employee. His electrical skills proved valuable, and his overall repertoire was of such high quality that the USO hired him as a full time technician in 1976.

Longevity and family are two significant themes in Kina’s life. He’s been married for 45 years and has four children and 10 grandchildren. Kina’s family also extends to the USO. He says he’s had other offers throughout the years, but felt his job with the organization always gave him a sense of both purpose and appreciation, which in turn made all of his hard work more enjoyable.

You can learn more about Kina in this December 2010 Your USO at Work profile.

–Story by USO Story Development

USO Fourth of July Celebrations Around the Globe

The USO once again hosted one of the nation’s signature Fourth of July bashes: the White House concert for troops and families. But just as much work went into helping troops stationed around the world celebrate Independence Day.

Here’s a look at how USO centers from Northern Virginia to Southern Afghanistan went big on July 4.

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Barbecue for the Troops: Beanie Weenie Quesadilla Wrap from the Frontlines

Have you signed up to host a Barbecue for the Troops for the summer yet? We still have more than two months of grill time left! Be sure to use one of our amazing recipes, like this one straight from the front lines! Our troops may not always have a gourmet kitchen, but they have come up with some ingenious ways to cook up a storm!

Screen Shot 2013-07-08 at 2.22.15 PMIngredients

  • 1/4 cup condensed bean with bacon soup 1 (8 inch) flour tortilla
  • 1 turkey hot dog
  • 1/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Cooking Instrument: Microwave

Directions

  1. Pour soup into a small microwave safe bowl.
  2. Wrap tortilla and hot dog with a clean, lightly moist cloth.
  3. Place soup, tortilla, and hot dog in microwave and cook on high approximately 30 seconds, or until tortilla is hot and pliable and the soup is hot.
  4. Place hot dog and soup in center of tortilla; sprinkle with cheese and roll.
  5. Microwave for an additional 10 seconds to fully melt the cheese.

USO Osan Opens in South Korea

Troops and USO staffers prepare to cut the ribbon to officially open the new USO Osan on Osan Air Base, South Korea. USO photo

Troops and USO staffers prepare to cut the ribbon to officially open the new USO Osan on Osan Air Base, South Korea. USO photo

A banner year for center openings and refurbishments continued Wednesday with the opening of USO Osan, a new location inside the Osan Air Base Community Center in South Korea.

USO President Sloan Gibson and Air Force Lt. Gen. Jan-Marc Jouas were among the officials who attended the ribbon cutting to open the new center.

From left, USO President Sloan Gibson, USO Pacific Regional Vice President Carly Harris and Air Force Lt. Gen. Jan-Marc Jouas speak at the event. USO photo

From left, USO President Sloan Gibson, USO Pacific Regional Vice President Carly Harris and Air Force Lt. Gen. Jan-Marc Jouas speak at the event. USO photo

“The USO has been an important member of the military family in Korea for more than 60 years,” Gibson said. “On the eve of America’s birthday, the USO is proud to recognize the service and sacrifice of our brave men and women and military families serving here, their constant vigilance protecting the freedoms for those of us at home.”

The center features many hallmark USO touches, including multiple, free ways to connect to loved ones back in the United States like Internet-ready computers and phones. The center will also offer core USO programming such as United Through Reading’s Military Program. USO Osan and nearby USO Camp Humphreys also plan to co-host large events like barbecues.

Visit the USO Osan Facebook page to keep up with events at the center.

–USO Story Development

Pictures: Wawa National Hoagie Day Brings Fun, Food and USO Recognition to Philly

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Scenes from Tuesday’s 21st annual Wawa National Hoagie Day in Philadelphia, benefitting the USO. Read the full story on uso.org.

–Photos by Eric Brandner, USO Director of Story Development

Hero Dog Makes Friends During USO Visit

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Teddy was obedient until the scraps started hitting the floor.

Even the most well-trained, well-intentioned golden retriever is going to try and snag a dropped piece of ham.

While troops and families likely came to the USO Warrior and Family Center on Fort Belvoir, Va., last Friday for the free lunch (courtesy of the USO of Metropolitan Washington), Teddy turned into the main attraction. The golden retriever is an ambassador for Hero Dogs, Inc., a Maryland-based nonprofit that trains and provides service dogs to wounded, ill and injured troops free of charge.

Teddy may not live with a service member – he has allergies, according to his trainer – but he had no problem sidling up to dozens of troops who streamed through the center’s dining room and sports lounge, craning his neck toward those who wanted to pet him or performing a trick on request.

–Photos by Eric Brandner, USO Director of Story Development