Country Star Hunter Hayes Talks About His Military Moment and Two Upcoming USO Shows

HunterHayesPosterHunter Hayes was wrapping up a performance on NBC’s “Today” when a veteran reached out and put a pair of dog tags in his hand.

What the 23-year-old singer thought would be another of the positive fan interactions he’s become famous for on the country music scene was about to become a profound moment.

“He told me a brief story about how he had gotten [my] record while he was overseas and he had listened to it a lot,” Hayes said in a recent phone interview. “It essentially made me feel like I was doing something right with my music.”

Hayes will be looking to make more moments for troops this fall. He’s doing his first USO show Thursday night at Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, and has also thrown his support behind the USO’s Every Moment Counts campaign.

“Every Moment Counts – I love those three words,” Hayes said. “I love that that’s what our current focus is. And the message is the fact that they give so much for us, that every moment with them, we never want to take it for granted.”

Hayes will be making moments on stage throughout his Tattoo (Your Name) Tour this fall, along with his exclusive USO show stops for American troops in Norfolk and Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England, on Oct. 11. The 2012 CMA New Artist of the Year and four-time Grammy nominee will equip concert attendees with wristbands from Glow Motion Technologies to create visually dramatic scenes around key parts of the show.

“Most of our shows that we’ve designed have always had a moment dedicated to our men and women in uniform,” he said. “I just feel really strongly that our appreciation needs to be shown in an extreme way.”

USO, New England Revolution Honor Troops at ‘Salute to Service’ Match

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FOXBOROUGH, Mass—On the bicentennial weekend of Francis Scott Key’s “Star-Spangled Banner,” the USO was invited to Gillette Stadium to display it’s own red, white and blue standard: a Guinness World Record-breaking flag.

The USO Every Moment Counts Flag, which shattered the Guinness World Record for most signatures on a flag at 115,405, was displayed during the New England Revolution’s match against the Montreal Impact.

Designed as the ultimate thank you note to troops and military families, the 80-foot-by-120-foot, 350-pound flag boasts signatures from Americans in all 50 states and seven other countries.

“This was a once-in-a-lifetime thing,” said USO New England volunteer T.R. Collins, who started with the USO when her son went off to college. “The USO puts me in the heart of Active service members and lifting their spirits actually comes back to me tenfold.”

The flag was unfurled at halftime by more than 100 USO New England volunteers amidst a summer downpour while Tennessee Air National Guard Tech. Sgt. Angie Johnson and the USO Show Troupe performed for the crowd. Nearly 3,000 police, fire, EMS personnel, active duty service members, reservists and family members from all five branches of the military were in attendance.

After the match, New England Revolution players took the time to meet with troops and families, signing autographs and posing for pictures.

The next stop on the flag’s tour is in Dover, Delaware, at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on Sept. 28.

For more information on the USO’s Every Moment Counts campaign – which rallies Americans to show their support for troops and their families – visit USOmoments.org or join the conversation on Facebook or Twitter using #USOmoments.

USO and NASCAR Help Soldier Surprise Family on Father’s Day

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BROOKLYN, Mich. —This weekend, the USO and NASCAR teamed up to help a soldier pull off a Father’s Day surprise for his family. Sgt. Sean Brady reunited with his wife, Lauren, son Sean and daughter Sarah on the pit road before Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway.

You can watch NASCAR’s video coverage of the reunion here:

Video: NASCAR Stars Turn Out to Sign USO Every Moment Counts Flag at the Coke 600

CHARLOTTE, N.C.–NASCAR drivers are the latest celebrities to sign The USO’s Every Moment Counts Flag. The USO is in Charlotte this weekend with Presidents Circle partner Coca-Cola for Sunday’s Coke 600. Press play to see what happened when drivers like Dale Earnhardt Jr., Casey Mears, David Ragan, Josh Wise and others autographed the flag. And don’t forget to thank America’s troops and help the USO break a Guinness World Record by adding your name.

–Video by Joseph Andrew Lee

Photos: Celebrites sign the USO flag in Las Vegas

The USO Every Moment Counts flag got some love from a star-studded crowd in Las Vegas this week. Celebrities like David Spade, Lance Bass, Jennifer Lopez and Jordin Sparks all stopped by the USO booth to sign our flag and to help the USO break a Guinness World Record for most signatures on a flag.

See who else signed the flag in Las Vegas:

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5 Things You Can Do to Thank America’s Troops on Armed Forces Day

DOD photo

Department of Defense photo

Saturday is Armed Forces Day, making it the perfect day to show your support for America’s troops stationed around the world. Here are five ways to show your thanks to America’s troops and their families:

1. Thank a service member: Whether you see someone in uniform traveling through the airport or know one of your neighbors is in the National Guard, take a moment to thank them for their service.

2. Sign the USO flag online: This is perhaps the easiest-to-achieve entry on the list. Just go to USOmoments.org and sign the flag. You’ll get to show our troops your appreciation and help the USO break a Guinness World Record.

3. Share your thanks on social media: The USO has 30,000 interactions with troops every day at our 160-plus centers around the globe. But while we’re making them feel home away from home in person, you can let them know how you feel about them by tweeting or Facebooking your message and then adding the hashtag #USOmoments at the end. And don’t forget to follow the USO on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

4. Head to a Major League game in one of these four cities: The USO will have a significant presence at ballparks around the country on Saturday. If you’re going to a game in Chicago (Cubs), Cleveland, Houston or Washington, take a walk to find the USO booth and sign a piece of the Every Moment Counts flag. Then, take a photo of yourself near the flag table and put it on Twitter or Instagram with the #USOmoments hashtag. We’ll pick one winner next week to send an Every Moment Counts T-shirt.

5. And if you’re in North Carolina … : You can celebrate all day in the Tar Heel state, as Gov. Pat McCrory issued an official citation proclaiming May 17 as Armed Forces Day to celebrate the state’s 800,000 veterans and 132,000 uniformed personnel:

N.C. Proclamation Armed Forces Day