Joan Rivers, the San Diego Padres and a Soaked 5K: A Look at USO Events Around The Globe

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As the summer draws to a close, USO centers around the world were busy hosting events to lift the spirits of troops and their families. Here’s a look at a few of the fantastic moments from USO centers around the world:

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Joan Rivers visits USO Denver. USO photo.

Joan Rivers Makes Surprise Visit to USO Denver
Long-time USO supporter Joan Rivers paid a surprise visit to USO Denver last Wednesday morning and made sure each guest, volunteer and staff member knew how much she appreciated them. Rivers was the 2001 USO of Metropolitan New York’s Woman of the Year.

“Thank you for your service,” Rivers told the group.

Military Kids Hit the Field at the Be a San Diego Padre for a Day Event
The USO partnered with Petco Park and the Padres to give military kids a Major League experience. Several local kids from military families spent the day practicing baseball fundamentals, talking with former Padre Damian Jackson and learning all about what it would be like to be a Major League Baseball player. Check out the video from the event here.

Sixth Annual Clark After Dark in Chicago
The USO of Illinois took to the streets Thursday night for its sixth annual Clark After Dark block party. Thanks to the support of Alderman Brendan Reilly of the 42nd Ward, Boss Bar and other USO partners, partygoers enjoyed live music, military vehicle displays and plenty of food. Despite the rainy weather, Chicagoans came out in full force to support their troops and show appreciation.

Heidi Murkoff smiles with an expectant military mother. USO photo.

Heidi Murkoff smiles with an expectant military mother. USO photo.

USO/What to Expect Special Delivery Baby Shower in Fort Drum, New York
On Friday, the USO and the What to Expect Foundation, founded by best-selling author Heidi Murkoff, delivered a special baby shower to expecting military spouses and service women stationed in Fort Drum, New York. The moms-to-be enjoyed an afternoon filled with shower games, food, a raffle and a question-and-answer session with Murkoff, who wrote the best-selling book “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.”

Second Annual H2GO in Okinawa, Japan
There aren’t many stickier places on the planet than the South Pacific in the summer, where near-100-degree temperatures are coupled with crippling humidity. To help troops and their families stationed in Okinawa beat the heat and stay in shape, volunteers at USO Kadena created H2GO, a 5K foot race with water-themed obstacles along the route.

The H2GO race let participants enjoy slip-n-slides, water cannons and the soaking power of over 20,000 water balloons.

Girls show off their nails and face paintings at Sun and Fun day with Kaiserslautern USO. USO photo.

Girls show off their nails and face paintings at Sun and Fun day with USO Kaiserslautern. USO photo.

Sixth Annual Sun and Fun Day in Kaiserslautern, Germany
As the dog days of summer come to an end, Kaiserslautern USO and TKS hosted the sixth annual Sun and Fun Day for troops and their families to help them enjoy the last of the warm weather. Despite some rain, over 2,300 visitors came out to enjoy the five-hour event that included food, raffles, live music and search-and-rescue dog demos.

Troops Get Their Game on at Camp Buehring Volleyball Tournament
Service members rallied their way to victory at a volleyball tournament Saturday night in Camp Buehring, Kuwait. Troops were able to form teams of six and compete for prizes — all while jamming out to the beats of DJ Break One. The winning teams were even awarded victory T-shirts!

USO Pacific VP Harris Marks 25 Years of Serving Troops

USO Senior Vice President of Operations Alan Reyes presents USO Pacific Regional Vice President Carly Harris a 25-year service coin Friday at USO Arlington in Virginia. Photo by Samantha Quigley

USO Senior Vice President of Operations Alan Reyes presents USO Pacific Regional Vice President Carly Harris a 25-year service coin Friday at USO Arlington in Virginia. Photo by Samantha Quigley

Carly Harris is an ever-present supporter of America’s troops. On Friday, she got a little recognition of her own.

Harris, USO Pacific regional vice president, was honored for her 25 years of service to the organization during a ceremony Friday afternoon at the USO offices in Arlington, Va.

Harris’ USO career includes stints as director of operations for USO Europe, a leading role in the development of the USO’s presence in Southwest Asia, and the director’s post at USO Wiesbaden/Mainz.

Congratulations Carly!

Continued Support for Haiti from the Military…and the USO

We continue to support the ongoing efforts of our men and women in uniform as they assist in the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti.  Numerous reports have cited the importance of care packages, USO Centers, and our volunteers as Troops continue to deploy to Haiti as part of Operation Unified Response.  Here’s a brief roundup of some of the latest reports:

A Haitian boy watches as rigid-hull inflatable boats from amphibious dock landing ships USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43) and USS Carter Hall (LSD 50) arrive ashore at the New Hope Mission at Bonel, Haiti, Jan. 19, 2010. The multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) is on station in Haiti with the amphibious dock landing ships USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43), USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44) and USS Carter Hall (LSD 50), supporting Operation Unified Response, a joint humanitarian assistance mission to the island nation. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kristopher Wilson/Released)

Stars & Stripes – Story by David Allen: “All Marine Lance Cpl. Franz Rosemond knows is that his pregnant wife is alive and wandering the streets of Port-au-Prince…Rosemond, who was born in Haiti and is assigned to Camp Hansen, said he tried to work, but he cried most of the day as news came in about the disaster. Then his staff sergeant brought him word that other Haitians on Okinawa had set up a disaster outreach and support group at the Futenma USO.

He’s kept busy since volunteering full-time to help other Haitians get in touch with their family and friends more than 8,000 miles away.

He finally got a call from his wife on Sunday…Since Saturday [people have] been working at the Futenma USO, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., where AT&T and the USO have donated 100 telephone cards and volunteers have brought in their MagicJacks — a device that routes calls over the Internet — so Haitians on Okinawa could try to make contact with someone back home. Chaplains and other support personnel have also been available.”  Click here to read the full story.

XVIII Airborne Corp Public Affairs – Story by Sgt. Maj. Sharon Opeka: “While XVIII Airborne Corps units prepare equipment and await air transportation for humanitarian relief operations in Haiti, their Fayetteville and Spring Lake, N.C., neighbors are showing their support.

Volunteers from the American Red Cross and the United Services Organization of North Carolina are providing food, toiletries and support to the troops…Wanda Moore, a USO-NC volunteer, is a familiar face to paratroopers who have deployed from Fort Bragg before. ‘We support everything the military does,’ said Moore. ‘We bring them care packages, hugs and well wishes to make sure they know we love them.'”  Click here to read the full story.

Check the latest information on deployments to and reports out of Haiti on the Department of Defense’s Blog, DoD Live.

US Marine Jake Wood has established Team Rubicon to assist in Haiti.  Follow his blog by clicking here.

If you know of other resources or sites with relevant information, please let us know in the comments section below!