A Moment Amid a Milestone: USO and What to Expect Creates a Big Day for Military Moms in the D.C. Area

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SPRINGFIELD, Virginia–Sometimes in life’s biggest moments, it’s the little things that matter most.

Military moms are often far away from family and friends during their pregnancies. Knowing this, the USO and the What to Expect Foundation partner to host Special Delivery baby showers to give these moms a moment of appreciation.

This week, more than 100 new moms and moms-to-be attended Special Delivery baby showers for the Fort Belvoir, Virginia, and Fort Meade, Maryland, military communities.

“It means a lot [to be here],” said Tanya Gehrig at one of this week’s baby showers. Gehrig is a Navy spouse and a proud mom of two sons, including one who was born just 12 days ago. “At this table, I was really able to meet some ladies that I could connect with. It was nice to just meet all of these people.”

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Army Maj. Mia Bruner, who is expecting her third child, said she was excited to participate in the event.

“Actually, when I was pregnant with my second child, I saw that they invited pregnant soldiers to these baby showers and really wished I could have attended then,” she said. “I was really happy when I was chosen for this event with this pregnancy.”

Special Delivery attendees enjoyed baby shower games, lunch and baby item raffles. Toward the end of the event, best-selling “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” series author Heidi Murkoff held a candid Q&A, giving advice and tips on topics from pregnancy through a child’s first years. Murkoff even recognized moms in the audience she’d met through the “What to Expect” Facebook page. Murkoff concluded the event with a meet and greet and book signing for the moms in attendance.

The new moms also left with gift bags that included hygiene items for their babies and a storybook. It may not have seemed like a lot, but it made a huge difference to attendees.

“I feel like I should have known that I would need items, but at these events, even the little things help,” Gehrig said. “Some people got big things like strollers and Pack’N Plays [through the raffles], but it means a lot to get a little bottle of lotion and shampoo. It’s one less thing I have to worry about when I am running out to the store. That stuff means a lot to me.”

–By Jessica Battaglia

Video: Three NFL Players Greet Troops and Families at the USO Warrior and Family Center at Fort Belvoir

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.

Volunteers Add Healing Touch at USO Warrior and Family Center at Fort Belvoir, Va.

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.

USO Brings Super Bowl Festivities – and a National TV Cameo – to Troops Around the World

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:

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Publishers Clearing House Prize Patrol Delivers $25,000 Check to the USO

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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.”

Photos: USO Volunteer who Won Contest Receives 2014 Jeep Wrangler

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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.