Yandel and Leslie Grace Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with USO Concert at Fort Bliss

Yandel, left, and Leslie Grace played a USO show for troops and families on Sept. 26 at Fort Bliss, Texas. USO photos by Dave Gatley

Yandel, left, and Leslie Grace played a USO on Sept. 25 at Fort Bliss, Texas. USO photos by Dave Gatley

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, Sony Music Latin Artists Yandel and Leslie Grace teamed with the USO over the weekend to play a free concert for more than 1,700 service members and their families at Fort Bliss, Texas. It was the first USO show for both 2015 Latin Grammy nominees.

“If we can make as many troops feel at home through music, in this case, Latin-american troops through Latin music … I don’t think there’s any reason why we shouldn’t,” Grace said.

Grace, also known as the “Princess of Bachata,” performed a 30-minute set followed by a high-energy arrangement by Yandel, complete with professional dancers, multi-color lights and snippets from his HBO special “Yandel: Legacy, De Líder a Leyenda Tour.”

“Thank you to all the soldiers who support me that are here at this event … I hope that they enjoy [my performance],” Yandel said from the stage.

In addition to performing, Yandel and Grace spent the afternoon at Fort Bliss meeting, thanking and taking photos with military families. Grace even took a tour of the base and visited service members at the USO El Paso’s East Fort Bliss center.

“It’s very close to home to be able to bring that sort of comfort that I know music can bring and that you guys at [the] USO focus so much on bringing to these troops,” Grace said.

Prior to performing in their first USO show, both Yandel and Grace appeared in the USO’s first bilingual PSA in support of the Every Moment Counts campaign titled “¡Gracias!” Sony Music Latin stars Arthur Hanlon, Carlos Vives, Diego Boneta, Luis Coronel, J Rythm and others also appeared in the PSA.

“I have a few friends … who serve. And I am very close to these people,” Grace said. “So, it was something that I thought was a great opportunity just to say thank you to all our troops and take that moment and let them know that they’re appreciated.”

Oname Thompson, Hee Suk Ko and Mari Villalobos contributed to this story.

We Celebrate the Grand Opening of USO El Paso, Alongside FirstLight Federal Credit Union

Soldiers help Karl Murphy, FirstLight Federal Credit Union president, cut the ribbon during the grand opening ceremony on April 15, 2010. (USO Photo by El Paso Portraits)

The USO and FirstLight Federal Credit Union opened conjoined, brand new centers, continuing their commitment to service members stationed on Fort Bliss.   These new facilities will serve more than 37,000 troops and 53,000 military family members expected on Fort Bliss by 2012.   USO El Paso also supports troops stationed in New Mexico and on White Sands Missile Range and Holloman Air Force Base.

Yolanda Castillo is the Director of USO El Paso and has this to say about the new center: “On-going community support of our new USO facility at East Fort Bliss has enabled the thousands of troops at Fort Bliss to find a true ‘home away from home’.  Our new center is bright and welcoming, and will offer troops a pleasant respite from their daily military duties. We are very grateful for the generous support from FirstLight Federal Credit Union and the El Paso community!”

Located at the northeast corner of Constitution and Sgt. Major Blvd, the new building is situated in the heart of Fort Bliss.  This is USO El Paso’s second location on Fort Bliss, creating one of the largest combined footprints on any military installation.  The new 6,400 square foot USO center boasts more than 30 Internet enabled computer stations, three flat screen televisions, Blu-ray players, six Xbox® 360 consoles, pool tables, a kitchen area, lounge, lending library, snack bar and large outdoor patio.

New Mexico Senator Jeff Bingaman said, “The new center on Fort Bliss will help meet the quickly escalating demand from the many soldiers and their families new to the base and the remaining thousands arriving in the next few years. The FirstLight-USO partnership is one that is above and beyond the usual, and one that will improve the lives of many in a meaningful way.”

Check out more photos below!

The new 6,400 square foot USO center has 40 Internet enabled computer stations, 3 flat screen televisions, Blu-ray players, 6 Xbox® 360 consoles, pool tables, a kitchen area, lounge, lending library and outdoor patio. (USO Photo by El Paso Portraits)

USO president, Sloan Gibson, acknowledges media during the USO El Paso and FirstLight Federal Credit Union grand opening celebration on April 15, 2010. (USO Photo by El Paso Portraits)

USO El Paso Programs Manager, Robert Medrano (R), chats with a center volunteer during the USO El Paso and FirstLight Federal Credit Union grand opening celebration on April 15, 2010. (USO Photo by El Paso Portraits)

The USO's Mobile Canteen traveled to Fort Bliss to greet and serve troops and their families during the USO El Paso and FirstLight Federal Credit Union's grand opening celebration on April 15, 2010. (USO Photo by El Paso Portraits)

Yolanda Castillo, director of USO El Paso, greets guests during the grand opening of USO El Paso and FirdtLight Federal Credit Union's first conjoined center on Fort Bliss. (USO Photo by El Paso Portraits)