Helping Out on Purple Heart Day

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Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

If you have a friend or family member who was awarded the Purple Heart, today isn’t necessarily the day to buy a drink for him or her in hopes of hearing a detailed story about why they received it. Often, the Purple Heart commemorates the most terrifying day of someone’s life, so there may be painful and tragic memories associated with it.

Instead, think about how you can be of service to the greater community of America’s combat wounded troops. There are countless ways to get involved. While the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs provide resources, a number of gaps have widened as the roster of wounded has swelled. In addition to volunteering at a local USO center, the USO and its best-in-class partners are always looking for help by facilitating programs for wounded, ill and injured troops and their families along with the families of the fallen. Here are just a few of those offerings:

The Fisher House: The Fisher House provides free housing to wounded troops on the grounds of major military hospitals. With several families often staying at these homes together, volunteer services are often needed.

Ride 2 Recovery: USO/Ride 2 Recovery Challenge Rides test recovering troops’ endurance while allowing them to build camraderie. Visit their site to find a ride near you, where you can ride with the wounded or volunteer.

Hire Heroes USA: The USO, in collaboration with Hire Heroes USA, offers Transition Workshops and Career Opportunity Days (CODs) for wounded, ill and injured troops, spouses and caregivers. If you are an employer, you can participate by helping conduct mock interviews and provide feedback, providing an additional level of support for transitioning service members to meet with employers offering jobs.

You can learn more about these programs by visiting uso.org.

–Story by Joseph Andrew Lee, USO staff writer

USO Roundup: Fort Campbell, Dover and Houston Centers Make Headlines

With more than 160 locations worldwide, news can slip through the cracks here at the USO. With that in mind, here are three items from the last few weeks you should know about:

  • The Little Things: The USO has a lot of initiatives for troops and families on the national level. But each USO location does a lot for the individual service members and families in its community, too. Earlier this week, Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations video journalists did a piece on how USO Delaware stocks the refrigerators for the Fisher House at Dover Air Force Base. Fisher House – part of the families of the fallen community at Dover – offers a free place to stay for families who are repatriating remains of troops killed while serving overseas. Watch the video here.
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USO Fort Campbell Director Kari Burgess, center, accepts the Christian County Chamber of Commerce’s Non-Profit of the Year Award Feb. 12. USO photo

  • Honor for Service: USO Fort Campbell – one of our newest centers – was named Non-Profit of the Year by the Christian County Chamber of Commerce. The award – presented at the chamber’s Small Business Breakfast on Feb. 12 – was sponsored by WHOP-FM, a radio station in Hopkinsville, Ky.
  • Over the Airwaves: USO Houston Director Elizabeth Vallette did an interview with the Houston Public Affairs radio show last week about what’s going on in her center, at USO Houston’s tent at the upcoming Rodeo Houston BBQ Cook-Off and at other USO locations around the world. Vallette is a former Army captain who has gone from using the organization’s services during her deployment to Iraq to helping the USO care for today’s troops. Listen to her interview here.

–Story by USO Story Development