By Lance Cpl. Paige Verry
It’s always an honor to serve the men and women in the U.S. military – but its an even bigger honor to carry out the USO’s tradition of service in a building named after a Medal of Honor recipient.
On Marine Corps Base Quantico (MCBQ), the USO will do just that when it opens a new location on March 9 in Austin Hall, which was named in honor of Marine Pvt. 1st Class Oscar P. Austin. Austin received the Medal of Honor for heroism and sacrifice of his own life to save the life of a fellow Marine in Vietnam in February 1969.
Thanks to the generosity of donors and supporters like you, new USO center on Quantico will include music, art, seasonal festivals, spouse events and transition programs.
“Last year the stars aligned,” said Michelle Shortencarrier, public affairs manager for USO Metro. “Once we finally had the budget and location, it happened fairly quickly.”
Although service members on MCBQ already have access to the Single Marine Program (SMP) – which focuses on active duty single Marines who are E-5 and below – the USO will help provide new opportunities for a wider audience on base, as the organization caters to all active duty, Reserve and Guard service members and their families.
“Thanks to community partners and Marine Corps Base Quantico organizations, the building is being renovated and will offer a snack bar, kitchen, theater room, small business center, gaming room, party deck, multi-purpose area, fire pit and an activity field,” said Yanci Beers, supervisor for the new USO Quantico center.
Beers also mentioned that an additional perk to having a center at Quantico is the ability for service members to have easy access to some TicketLine opportunities instead of traveling to Ft. Belvoir or further north to pick up tickets.
Military members and their families may register for TicketLine email updates at https://metro.uso.org to be alerted when complimentary tickets to sporting events, concerts, and more, become available.
A Place to be Served and Served
In particular, the USO Quanitco center will be a prime location for Marines and the local community to volunteer and give back to the installation.
Currently, the center is in need of volunteers, having filled only 75 of the 200 slots desired. Volunteers can expect to commit to four-hour shifts, doing anything from greeting at events, to working at the desk, or providing a listening ear to those in need.
“If it weren’t for the volunteers,” Shortencarrier said. “The USO would not exist.”
Beers reinforced the need for volunteers due to the center operating 365 days a year, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. More than 30,000 volunteers currently support the mission of the USO to continuously support service members.
-This story originally appeared on DVIDS.net. It has been edited for USO.org.
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