FORT BELVOIR, Va. — Three NFL players met with 200 troops and military family members April 3 at the USO Warrior and Family Center here. The Baltimore Ravens’ Steve Smith, the New England Patriots’ Brandon LaFell and the Washington Redskins’ Andre Roberts signed autographs and posed for photos. They also took time to record warm wishes for troops serving around the world. The event was sponsored by USO Worldwide Strategic Partner Procter and Gamble.
FORT BELVOIR, Va.-The USO Warrior and Family Center here serves a unique community, and couldn’t operate without a cadre of trained volunteers. The center caters to wounded, ill and injured troops and their caregivers and families recovering from both visible and invisible wounds of war.
“Our volunteers here are amazing,” said Pam Horton, Director of USO Warrior and Family Centers. “There is not a chance we could have done a tenth of what we’ve done if they hadn’t been here.”
The USO is proud to celebrate National Volunteer Week. Our 29,000-plus volunteers donate roughly 1.5 million hours of service each year. They’re the reason the service members and their families who walk through our doors more than 8 million times each year feel welcome.
Troops attended USOs around the world last night to watch the big game. And even though this year’s Super Bowl was a blowout, they still had a great time. Take a look:
What would you do if the Publishers Clearing House Prize Patrol showed up on your doorstep?
Staff and volunteers at the USO Warrior and Family Center at Fort Belvoir, Va., were jumping for joy Wednesday after receiving a $25,000 check from the Publishers Clearing House recent Facebook promotion, The Give Back.
“We’re really grateful,” said USO Vice President of Operations Glenn Welling, who was presented the check by the Prize Patrol. “This was our first opportunity to get involved with the Publishers Clearing House Give Back promotion, and just to be able to be recognized by the Americans who went online each day is awesome. For 73 years the USO has been the connection between America and her military, and donations like this one will allow us to continue doing what we are do for another 73 years.”
This year’s The Give Back event featured three charities: the USO, ASPCA and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Fans were allowed to vote for their favorite charity once per day, with the charities earning prizes based on where they finished in the voting.
“We love being able to give back to the charities our customers care about,” said Danielle Bertellotti, assistant manager for digital marketing development at Publishers Clearing House. “Our audience has been very vocal on social media, and they have made it clear that the USO is a charity they care deeply about, so we are very happy to give.”
After voting to support their favorite charities, visitors to the Publishers Clearing House Facebook page also had the opportunity to win cash for themselves. Each vote cast for a charity also served as an entry into both a SuperPrize and the Give Back Exclusive Prize.
“It was something so simple … but it gave people the chance to make a difference for a cause they love,” Bertellotti said. Maybe they don’t have the money to give; maybe they aren’t in a place where they could volunteer; but this was a way they could help out the USO from wherever they are.”
Two months after winning an online contest, USO volunteer Norm Hallowell watched as Pam Horton – manager of the USO Warrior and Family Center at Fort Belvoir, Va. – pulled his new Jeep Wrangler up to the curb.
Hallowell stood in front of the recently opened center Friday afternoon with a small group of USO staff and volunteers and received the keys to his new Jeep from USO of Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore Chief Operating Officer Cheryl Laaker Hall.
The contest was part of the USO’s ongoing relationship with Jeep, which include’s the automaker’s Operation Safe Return initiative.
During the time her husband, journalist Bob Woodruff, spent recovering from a roadside bomb blast that nearly killed him in Iraq, Lee Woodruff found moments of healing, quiet and temporary escape by gardening.
It’s no coincidence that recovering troops, their families and caregivers can seek their own peace of mind in the Healing Garden outside the new USO Warrior and Family Center at Fort Belvoir, Va.
The Bob Woodruff Foundation provided a generous grant to the USO to support education, employment training, rehabilitation and quality of life for our nation’s recovering heroes. The foundation also supported the Healing Garden, which will be in full bloom by spring. The garden will provide respite and tranquility for all who visit the center.
Walking from the building to the garden, visitors will read a message from the Bob Woodruff Foundation engraved along the path. Spaced out on the sidewalk will be the words Hope, Faith, Family and Resilience. The last part of the message will read: “Honoring the indomitable human spirit.”
“This is what we believe in. In keeping with what Bob and Lee envisioned for the Foundation, the Bob Woodruff Foundation seeks strategic partners that share a proven history of caring for the wounded and their families and the USO does just that,” said Anne Marie Dougherty, the executive director of the Bob Woodruff Foundation.
–Story by USO Publicaitons