Retired National Guard Colonel Gives to the USO for His Two Veteran Sons

Hal Harrington is a retired Army National Guard colonel currently working for the federal government. He has two sons — one officer and one enlisted — who both deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.

When it came time to give to the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) this year, his choice of charity was clear.

“I’m always critical, you know, of charity organizations,” said Harrington, who served more than 30 years in the Michigan National Guard, the same organization in which his sons served. “The USO is one I don’t even have to think about. In fact, when I sent my boys off to their basic schools, the USO was part of my safety brief to them. I’d say, ‘Here’s where you’re flying and here’s where you’re going, and here’s the airports that have USO facilities, so stop in and use them.’”

After Harrington retired from the Michigan National Guard, he worked in the private sector for several decades until the economy took a dip in the late 2000s. That’s when he took a job working for the federal government once again, and he was happy to see the CFC had evolved to make giving much easier.

“I’d get those things in the mail for the USO and I donated that way,” Harrington said. “But the CFC made it really easy to give to the organizations I already gave to.”

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The CFC is the world’s largest and most successful annual workplace charity campaign. Pledges made by federal civilian and military personnel during the campaign season (Sept. 1 to Dec. 15) bring in millions of dollars to support nonprofit organizations that provide health and human service benefits throughout the world.

“My hat is off to [the USO] for doing what [it does],” Harrington said. “You go into those airports and sometimes there are two people there and sometimes there’s 10, and sometimes there’s 30 with duffel bags waiting to go. It doesn’t matter what airport you’re in — Atlanta, Denver, Durham … — there’s always service people and there’s always the USO where we know they are being taken care of.”

“If I can support them in any way, shape or form through [the USO] I will — and I do.”

The USO is CFC #11381. 

Vice President and Dr. Biden Mingle with Troops at USO Hawaii Barbecue

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Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, attended their second USO-affiliated event in as many months Saturday when they dropped in on a barbecue in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

USO Hawaii hosted the event where the Bidens mingled with approximately 500 troops and family members. The Bidens addressed the assembled guests and talked about their personal connection to the military through their son Beau Biden, who is a major in the Delaware Army National Guard.

Due to security, guests had to arrive several hours early. However, the USO had plenty of activities for the kids in attendance to pass the time, including face painters, music, a hula school performance and bounce houses.

“The USO is such a great organization,” Dr. Biden told the crowd, according to the Armed Forces Press Service. “I’ve worked with them many times, and they do really wonderful things.”

–Story by USO Story Development

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National Guard Keeps the East Coast Safe from the Storm

As USO Centers along the east coast have greeted Troops whose flights are delayed or cancelled because of the Blizzard of 2010, one group is tackling the snow head on: the National Guard.

“‘This is our job, and this is what we do,’ said Army Maj. Gen. Errol R. Schwartz, commanding general of the D.C. Guard Joint Force Headquarters. ‘We have always answered the call for help from the District of Columbia at a moment’s notice, and our people have done a tremendous job in supporting emergency missions during this historic blizzard.'”  -Click here to read the complete DC National Guard news release.

National Guard Blizzard 2010

Soldiers from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 116th Infantry Brigade, prepare their vehicles for potential missions in the Staunton, Va area, Feb. 5. Approximately 30 Soldiers from the Brigade are on state active duty in the Staunton area ready to assist local authorities in case of emergency. The Soldiers will be positioned in area emergency operation centers. (Photos by Capt. Matt Nowak, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs

The Virginia National Guard, meanwhile, is dispatching up to 500 personnel throughout Sunday and the governor continues to urge residents to stay home for the Super Bowl, as even Humvees are finding themselves mired in the snow!  -Click here to read locations and additional info from WHSV.com

We still think we’d rather be in a Humvee than an SUV, as evidenced by this video:

National Guard units in Delaware, West Virginia, and Maryland are responding similarly, with Delaware dispatching troops “in about 75 Humvees and other specialized vehicles [to take] police, doctors and nurses to and from work. They drove patients to emergency room appointments such as dialysis treatments. They took people without power to shelters.”  These essential acts are the hallmark of National Guard activity in times of emergency.  -Click here to read the full story from Delaware Online.