A Critical 4th of July Mission

I need your help in a critical mission: equipping and supplying our USO Warrior and Family Center at Walter Reed Military Medical Center that’s currently under construction.

The brave troops who will use this wonderful, new center sacrificed so much for our country. We need to make sure they have everything they need to live comfortably during their recovery.

We only have until Ju‌ly 4‌th to raise the funds needed to bring this 16,217-square-foot center to life. I know we can get there but we need you to step up and lead today.

Give back to our wounded troops who’ve given so much to serve our nation. Make your “At One With The Wounded” donation today.

callout-large-v43Thousands of our young men and women are returning from war wounded, ill or injured, and you and the USO are there to comfort them from the moment they’re rushed to a field hospital and through every step of recovery as they prepare for the future.

For our wounded, their families and caregivers, our new center will be a place of healing and recuperation. It will offer every comfort they need, from comforting rest areas and recreation rooms to education centers designed specifically to be springboards to get our troops back to a full and rewarding life, which will help them face the challenges of recovery.

But as you can imagine, it takes a lot to get a state-of-the-art facility of this magnitude up and running. That’s why your participation in our “At One With The Wounded” campaign is absolutely vital.

Click here to make your “At One With The Wounded” donation right now.

Our wounded troops have laid it all on the line for our country. With Ju‌ly 4th fast approaching, I’m hoping you will show your respect for their sacrifices by making a matching gift to this very special effort.

- General Richard B. Myers, USAF (Ret.), Chairman of the Board, USO

OEF Crisis Hotline Gives Stressed Troops an Outlet Downrange

More than 1,000 runners came out for the OEF Crisis Hotline 5K, hosted May 24 at six USO Centers in Afghanistan. USO photos by Eric Raum

More than 1,000 runners came out for the OEF Crisis Hotline 5K, hosted May 24 at six USO Centers across Afghanistan. USO photos by Eric Raum

It was a run for those who feel trapped.

Six USO centers in Afghanistan hosted more than 1,000 total runners for a 5K on May 24 to promote the OEF Crisis Hotline, a downrange-based call center troops can contact if they are dealing with stress or other mental health issues. The hotline has two mental health professionals on duty 24 hours a day.

The USO – which has been advertising the hotline to troops via posters at downrange centers – provided prizes for the top three male and female finishers.

Sgt. Kristian Patino of the Army’s 254th Medical Detachment said the hotline fills a void downrange and is modeled off a similar system the Department of Veterans Affairs operates stateside.

“It is peer support in its purest form,” Patino said. “You have service members here in Afghanistan going through the same struggles and dealing with the same issues as whoever would be calling in, so they are able to connect with the caller and relate to them.”

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The hotline – which was originally run by the 254th Medical Detachment in Kandahar – is now operated by the Army’s 85th Combat Operational Stress Control Detachment out of Bagram.

Patino believes the hotline makes a difference.

“One instance, a woman called in and was very frantic, in a complete panic and crying,” Patino said. “When we were done, it was a day and night shift. We worked through relaxation techniques and talked through what was troubling her.”

Troops downrange can reach the OEF Crisis Hotline the following ways:

Stateside troops and veterans can reach the VA’s Military Crisis Line by dialing 1-800-273-8255 and then pressing 1. Europe-based troops can reach the Military Crisis Line by dialing 00800 1273 8255 on regular phones or 118 on DSN lines.

–Story by Eric Raum and Eric Brandner, USO

Barbecue for the Troops: Tastykake Pie Ice Cream

Have you signed up to host a Barbecue for the Troops for the summer yet? Be sure to use one of our amazing recipes!

Today we’re featuring a delicious-looking ice cream update from our great partner, Tastykake!  Tastykake is a Proud Supporter who’s donated to the USO in support of our troops and their families.

Tastykake Pie Ice Cream

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Who needs ala mode when you can have it all in one?

Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups Heavy Cream
  • 1 Cup Whole Milk
  • 3/4 Cup Sugar
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Salt
  • 3 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 3 Tastykake Fruit Pies (We used Blueberry)

Instructions:

  1. In a saucepan, heat 1 cup of heavy cream, sugar, and salt. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat.
  2. Add one cup heavy cream, 1 cup milk, and vanilla extract. Refrigerate mixture until thoroughly cooled.
  3. Add chilled mixture to ice cream maker and churn according to directions.
  4. Once churned, gently stir in chopped Tastykake fruit pie of your choice and serve right away, or layer ice cream and pies in a container, and freeze until desired hardness. Makes a little over a quart.

Barbecue for the Troops: Kroger’s Parmesan Garlic Grilled Corn

Have you signed up to host a Barbecue for the Troops for the summer yet? Be sure to use one of our amazing recipes!

Here’s one from our partner Kroger. In support the USO’s broad range of programs that assist troops and their families, Kroger will donate $2.3 million to the USO during their Honoring Our Heroes campaign! Learn more about Honoring Our Heroes at www.honoringourheroes.com

Kroger’s Parmesan Garlic Grilled Corn

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Enjoy this simple recipe for grilled corn on the cob topped with garlic spread and sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.

Servings: 4
Cook time: 25 minutes

Ingredients
> PAM grilling spray 1/4 cup
> Parkay original spread
> 1/2 tsp. garlic salt
> 1/8 tsp. black pepper, ground
> 4 medium ears fresh sweet corn, husks removed
> 3 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese, grated

Instructions
1. Spray cold grate of gas grill with grilling spray. Preheat grill to medium heat.
2. While grill heats, combine Parkay spread, garlic salt and pepper in a small bowl and set aside.
3. Grill corn 12 to 15 minutes or until tender and lightly browned, turning occasionally.
4. Remove corn from grill. Brush with Parkay seasoning mixture; sprinkle entire ear of corn with cheese and serve.

Find more recipes at Kroger.com!

Photos: USO and Partners Help Make Cancer-Stricken Marine’s Wish a Reality

The USO – with huge assists from American Airlines and Joining Forces – helped make a terminally ill Marine’s wish come true this week, facilitating Lance Cpl. Christopher Fillion’s trip to the White House to meet President Barack Obama.

Here’s a look at the journey in photos (and here’s a story on how the trip came together):

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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