A Billy Ray Cyrus Concert…and Operation Phone Home!

U.S. service members pose for photos with country singer Billy Ray Cyrus during a USO holiday show at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, Dec. 19, 2009. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Triah Pendracki/Released)

Country superstar and USO tour veteran Billy Ray Cyrus will play a free concert at 7 p.m. Sunday at Biggs Army Airfield on Fort Bliss.   This event is a special, exclusive performance just for military personnel with valid IDs and their families; the general public will not be admitted. 

Cyrus is a great supporter of the Troops, having gone a week-long, three-country USO tour last December with Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; tennis star Anna Kournikova; and comedian Dave Attell.  He’s also a supporter of Operation Phone Home, a USO program that delivers prepaid international phone cards to deployed service members free of charge, and recently shared this special message that explains how YOU can support the program, too: 

“Being separated from family and loved ones is just one of the many difficult sacrifices our troops make to defend our country and our freedom. But right now, you and I have a special opportunity to help make dealing with that separation just a little easier. 

Thanks to the USO’s Operation Phone Home program, when you donate $15 today, you will provide our brave men and women with 45 calls home.To make the most of this opportunity, the USO has set a goal of 100,000 calls by July 31. It’s an ambitious goal, but it’s one we must take on for our troops. And it’s one we know we can achieve with the help of generous supporters like you. So please, don’t hesitate and join in this great campaign today. 

Thank you,
Billy Ray Cyrus”

Thanks to Billy Ray Cyrus for all he does for our Troops and their families, and thanks to all of YOU who make our programs and services possible.  Let’s make these 100,000 calls by July 31st a reality!

Tied to a Cause: Making a Whale of a Difference

The USO and vineyard vines® have partnered to benefit Operation Enduring Care…and YOU can be a part of it!  The Connecticut-based apparel and accessories brand’s “Tied to a Cause” campaign is a charitable program that honors different charities each month by selling custom classic tote bags and ties in a variety of colors, with proceeds benefiting the featured organization, will be specifically supporting the USO’s Operation Enduring Care initiative through the July 4th weekend, 2010. Click here to check out the limited-edition ties and totes that are available for purchase!

The USO has pledged to raise $100 million over five-years for Operation Enduring Care, a comprehensive long-term initiative to support America’s Wounded Warriors and their families. vineyard vines will sell custom classic tote bags and ties in a variety of colors on their website for the month of June, with all proceeds from sales directly benefiting Operation Enduring Care.  We’ll also be holding in-store events at vineyard vines locations around the country; details are forthcoming.

“To be able to help such an honorable organization as the USO is incredible,” said CEO and co-founder Ian Murray. “Their support of our troops who fight for our freedom is truly commendable. We’re privileged to raise funds for Operation Enduring Care.”

“We are excited about the new relationship with vineyard vines,” said Sloan Gibson, president and CEO of the USO. “As we continue to support the troops and their families, we want to thank vineyard vines for their commitment to raising funds for Operation Enduring Care and Wounded Warriors.”

To celebrate, we’re giving away totes and ties to four lucky blog readers!  Just leave a comment below to tell how how you’d wear YOUR tote or tie to show support of our wounded warriors and Operation Enduring Care.  Would you take the tote to the beach?  Wear the tie to a wedding?  Be creative!

Four winner will be chosen at random; USO employees and their families are not eligible.

Our Troops Know I Have Their Back!

The 4th of July is almost here.  We at the USO are gearing up for a patriotic celebration…and we want YOU to be a part of it!

Now through Flag Day – Monday, June 14 – you can show your support of the USO by donating $20 or more to the We’ve Got Their Back campaign.  In return, we’ll send you a limited-edition USO t-shirt that lets everyone know just how much you support the Troops.

It’s always easy and secure to donate online to the USO.  And the Flag Day deadline ensures that you’ll receive your t-shirt just in time to celebrate the 4th of July in USO style.  We can’t think of a better way to celebrate our nation’s independence.

What are you waiting for?   Let ‘em know “We’ve Got Their Back” today!

Jimmie Johnson Hosts Benefit Concert for Soldiers

(L to R) NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson, USO of North Carolina's Megan Grady, President and COO for USO of North Carolina John Falkenbury, and Grammy-award winning musician Darius Rucker came out to support the Lowe's USO Family Fund. (Photo courtesy of WCNC.com)

By now you’ve probably heard the exciting news about the Lowe’s USO Family Fund, which support family programming at the USO.  On Thursday, NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson hosted a special concert at the Fillmore in Charlotte, NC, with musical performance by Darius Rucker…all to support the Fund!

“It means a lot to all of us and I think it’s really big for the city to have the race here in town,” Johnson told WCNC.com in Charlotte. “Drivers and almost everyone knows this is a big opportunity to be home and wine and dine some folks to show our appreciation to the fans.”  You can check out footage of the night’s events in a short clip below.

It was a great night for our Troops and the best part (besides supporting the USO, of course!) is that YOU can view the concert on the SPEED Channel at 7 p.m. on May 29, 2010 – just one week from tonight.  In the meantime, show your support for the Lowe’s USO Family Fund by visiting www.uso.org/lowes, by texting USO to 50555 for a $5 donation, or by calling 1-800-876-7469 and using giving codes “Lowe’s,” “Jimmie Johnson,” or “Racing.”  Thanks for your support!

more about “Jimmie Johnson hosts benefit concert …“, posted with vodpod

American is the USO’s Official Airline

American Airlines has just announced they’re expanded their relationship with the USO, becoming the first official airline partner in our 69-year history of supporting U.S. military service members.

“At American Airlines, supporting our troops, veterans and their families is a cornerstone commitment we have made to honor those who protect the freedoms we hold so dear,” said Roger Frizzell, American’s Vice President – Corporate Communications and Advertising. “We are extremely proud to be the official airline of the USO, an organization whose sole mission is to serve those who serve this great nation.”

As the USO’s official airline, American will provide in-kind support, as well as fundraising assistance, including a new American Airlines Gift Card that launches today.  When purchasers select the USO gift card option, American will donate $5 to the USO for every $50 of travel purchased.

“American’s extensive network and long history of supporting members of the armed forces make them an ideal partner for us,” said Kelli Seely, USO’s Senior Vice President, Development & Chief Development Officer. “It is an honor to welcome American Airlines as the official airline of the USO.”

The new Join Us website, http://www.AA.com/joinus, invites the public to learn more about the not-for-profit organizations American supports, including military/veterans programs, Susan G. Komen for the Cure(r), Kids In Need(r) and disaster relief efforts. Customers may contribute to these causes by making cash donations to earn AAdvantage miles, and pre-purchasing travel, wherein American will donate 10 percent of travel purchased to the USO, if designated. The website provides a one-stop opportunity to learn about American’s community programs and the ways customers can get involved.

The American Airlines Gift Card is available in denominations from $50 to $1,500 and can be applied toward the purchase of travel on any American Airlines, American Eagle or AmericanConnection carrier, or any oneworld partner or codeshare flight published fare. Unlike many gift cards, there is no expiration date. When completing the payment information, enter “USO” in the tracking code box. The gift card can be delivered to the recipient via e-mail, with a personal message included, if desired.

We’re thrilled to announce this new partnership and hope you’ll enjoy flying American Airlines as much as we do.  Let us know when you use this program – we want to hear about your travel experiences!