USO South Carolina Officially Opens at Columbia Metro Airport!

Guests - including USO's President and CEO Sloan Gibson, 2nd from left - look on as a Color Guard places the American and South Carolina flags outside the new USO Center in Columbia Metro Airport.

The USO proudly announces the opening of its first center in South Carolina at the Columbia Metropolitan Airport!  This 900 square-foot facility will serve approximately 46,000 service members traveling through the airport each year, along with the 65,000 active duty troops and their family members stationed at Fort Jackson, Fort Gordon, Shaw Air Force Base, 81st Regional Support Command (USAR) and McEntire Joint National Guard Base.

“Having the state’s first USO located at Columbia Metropolitan Airport plays a key role in the airport’s continued goal to support our customers coming to/from Fort Jackson, Shaw AFB, and McEntire ANG Base among other installations. We are pleased and honored to be a partner with USO. My thanks to the Airport Commission and staff and to the many key players representing Fort Jackson and our business community in the evident teamwork that was done to make this USO a reality. Joanie Thresher, Director USO South Carolina, and her team of volunteers provide an incredible service daily to the men and women of our military branches and their families, ” said Dan Mann, executive director, Columbia Metropolitan Airport.

The center is located in the airport atrium, and will be open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.  All programs and services offered there are free to troops and their family members.  Computer stations and Wi-Fi access will allow troops to check email and stay connected to their loved ones. Xbox® 360 video gaming systems, large screen TVs and books will entertain troops during long layovers.  Snacks are available for those with empty stomachs.

Joanie Thresher, the Center Director at USO South Carolina had this to say: “I want to thank the Columbia community for their generosity and support in making USO South Carolina possible. Opening this center has truly been a labor of love, and I am confident that with this continued level of support, we are headed toward bigger and better things.”

For individuals and corporations looking for volunteer opportunities or to donate monetary gift or supplies, please contact Joanie directly at (803) 404-1824 or via email.  Enjoy more opening day pictures below!

Joanie Thresher cuts the ribbon, officially opening USO South Carolina June 3, 2010.

Combat Veterans of Lexington, SC, present a check to USO South Carolina at the grand opening ceremony June 3, 2010.

Brigadier General Bradley May, Commanding General, Fort Jackson, sings the praises of USO South Carolina Director Joanie Thresher at the center opening June 3, 2010.

South Carolina Declares May “USO Awareness Month”

Way to go, USO of South Carolina, in getting May to be officially recognized as “USO Awareness Month.”  This is especially exciting considering that the USO at Columbia Metropolitan Airport will be celebrating its one-year anniversary on June 3.  We’re proud of Center Director Joanie Thresher, our staff, volunteers, and all of the Troops who use this facility and hope you’ll join us in wishing them a Happy USO Awareness Month!

Click here to watch some videos from Midlands Connect that talk more about the great work USO South Carolina is doing and to learn how YOUR donations can make a difference!