Fort Hood Soldiers Cool Down Via Operation Hydration

More than 3,600 cases of water were collected and donated to USO Fort Hood during AT&T Veterans’ Operation Hydration. USO Photo

Those aren’t just pallets of water you’re looking at. Those bottles represent both sweet relief for soldiers at Fort Hood and a lot of hard work from a group of volunteers who want to help troops beat the oppressive Texas heat.

AT&T Veterans’ Operation Hydration resulted in a bottled water boon for USO Fort Hood. The campaign—which wrapped up recently—netted more than 3,600 cases of bottled water and $13,000 in donations to purchase extra H2O. The water will be distributed to troops around the base by USO Fort Hood staffers and volunteers.

“We are building a motorpool plan to do Monday stops with ice cold water for our Soldiers!” USO Fort Hood Center Director Robin Crouse wrote in an email last week.

Stephen Ollar of Student Veterans Association—which which helped collect donations for the campaign—said giving back to the USO was important to him.

“They were there to provide food, water, emotional support,” Ollar told KXAN-TV in Austin, Texas. “It’s a valuable service and it feels good. It’s important that I can give back to that service that I was able to take advantage of.” – Eric Brandner, ON★PATROL Senior Editor

Share the Love

The USO is excited to be a finalist to be a part of the Subaru’s 2012 “Share the Love” event! In August, the two charities that receive the most votes on Subaru’s Facebook site will be included in this winter’s “Share The Love” event. We encourage you, your friends and families to cast your ballots for the USO at — you can vote every day until August 26th! During the “Share The Love” event at dealerships this winter, Subaru customers will be able to select which of the five charities they would like Subaru to donate $250 for every new Subaru vehicle sold or leased from November 21st through January 2nd, up to a grand total of $5 million… wow!

MAJ Butch at the USO on Bagram Air Base and wants you to vote!

Not only can you help us by voting every day, but you can also help remind our supporters to vote Every day we’ll be posting a patriotic dog (or any beloved pet) photo on our Facebook page to remind our community to vote! Submit your own pet at and maybe yours will be our featured pet helper of the day!

Check In to jcpenney

You may not be too familiar with Foursquare, a social app for your mobile phone that let’s you “check-in” to different places you visit. But if you’ve been interested in trying it out, now’s the time – from July 23 to July 31 jcpenney will donate a $1 dollar to the USO for every “check-in” to one of their stores up to $50,000! That’s in addition to the $1 million donation they’ve already made to the USO!

Need to know how to get started? Download one of Foursquare’s mobile apps on your phone. They provide apps for iPhone, Android, and Blackberry. “Officially unofficial” apps exist for Nokia’s S40, S60 and MeeGo platforms, along with Windows Phone 7 and Palm. If there’s no app for your phone, you can check in through Foursquare’s mobile site or via SMS. Once you’ve set up your Foursquare account, head on over to your closest jcpenney!

To check in, open the mobile app on your phone and Foursquare will use your phone’s GPS to find your current location. Click the ‘Check in’ button or tab to see a list of nearby places where you can check in. If the place you’re looking for isn’t in the list, you can search for it or add it directly from your phone.

When you check in, you’ll have the option to share your location with your Foursquare friends and with Facebook and Twitter. If you check in without sharing with your friends, your check-in will be private and only seen by you.

And while you’re there, be sure to let them know you’d like to round up your purchase to the nearest dollar for the USO. The difference will be donated to the USO too!

Wawa Welcomes America with Hoagies

Last week Wawa kicked off its Independence Day celebrations in Philadelphia with a special Hoagie Day –  an afternoon full of singing, food and thanking our troops!

Hundreds of thank you notes were collected and will be sent to troops overseas!

That morning over 200 Wawa associates came together to make more than 4.5 tons of hoagie to feed event attendees! Thousands of people came out to eat and write messages of thanks to the troops at the Liberty USO tent!

Anyone know where we can find an extra large ATM?

Wawa celebrated an amazing two weeks of fundraising for the USO by giving us a check for $100,000! The campaign isn’t over yet- be sure to stop by your closest Wawa and drop in some change for the USO – maybe we can double that!

Finally, the USO Liberty Bells closed out the festivities by performing a medley of songs that got everyone up and dancing! Thanks Wawa for all your support and dedication to our military! – Vyque Elessar, USO Director of New Media

Kangaroo Express Starts Second Annual ‘Salute Our Troops’ Campaign

Vroom vroom! Keep your eyes open for these cars at your nearby Kangaroo Express!

The Pantry, Inc. has just announced the second annual Salute Our Troops® campaign, inviting customers in its more than 1,600 Kangaroo Express convenience stores across 13 states to demonstrate united support for military personnel and their families.

From June 27 through Sept. 4, Kangaroo Express and Salute Our Troops will again invite store guests to make donations to the campaign and empower communities to shine a spotlight of praise and gratitude on the military.

Donations from the campaign will support the USO, lifting the spirits of America’s troops and their families; Wounded Warrior Project, honoring and empowering injured servicemen and women; and six state-based military support organizations. In its inaugural year, the 2011 Salute Our Troops campaign raised $2.5 million dollars, breaking fundraising records for many beneficiary organizations, including the largest grassroots fundraising initiative in the USO’s 70-year history!!

“Salute Our Troops was an overwhelming success last year thanks to the passion and commitment of our employees who brought the campaign to life, rallying communities and the customers we serve to support our military and their families. We want to continue that tradition of excellence,” said John Fisher, senior vice president of marketing, merchandising and restaurant operations, Kangaroo Express. “Building on our legacy of commitment and gratitude for the sacrifices required to protect our nation and preserve our freedom, we are again joining our partners to show our united appreciation to raise money for military cause organizations.”

The six state-based organizations benefiting cover five states throughout the Southeast and include the Enlisted Association of National Guard of Tennessee Auxiliary Soldier Airman Relief Fund Inc., Florida National Guard Foundation, Georgia National Guard Family Support Foundation, North Carolina National Guard Soldiers and Airmen Assistance Fund, South Carolina Military Family Care Association, and the United States Veterans Corps based in North Carolina.

Salute Our Troops celebrations will be held at Kangaroo Express stores throughout the southeastern United States led by the Salute Our Troops Caravan. This year, retired Staff Sergeant Kelly Fromm will join the caravan with his “Rev-It-Up for Wounded Warriors” custom patriotic show cars. Since 2010, Fromm has traveled around the country in his custom cars to honor fallen American soldiers and raise funds for various veteran groups.

Celebrations will also include the Salute Our Troops Command Center, where store guests will add their own voice of gratitude with “shout outs” of pride and appreciation. Many will be showcased on the Salute Our Troops website at to share with troops and families around the world.

Donations continue to support our military and their families. The 2011 Salute Our Troops donations have been helping operate 12 USO centers and three USO military family support programs, as well as Wounded Warrior Project programs designed to nurture the mind and body, and encourage economic empowerment and engagement. Emergency grant programs run by the state-based military support organizations have been able to distribute grants for military families and even build a rehabilitation pool for a wounded sergeant.

“We are proud to join Kangaroo Express in showing our support for troops and their families,” said Chris DeLong, vice president of the Dollar, Drug and Convenience Store Channel for PepsiCo North America Beverages – the leading corporate contributor for the initiative. “This annual campaign continues to help Kangaroo Express, its guests and PepsiCo give back to our cherished service men and women. It is also a great example of Performance with Purpose – our company’s commitment to sustainable growth by investing in a healthier future for people and our planet, and respecting, supporting and investing in the local communities where we work, live and operate.”

Activision Sends Battleship Gaming Goodness

A video game based on a movie loosely based on a board game… sounds complicated! But to troops stationed at the US Naval Forces Central Command Headquarters in Afghanistan it was simple: a little bit of time to relax and have some fun!

The men and women from the US Naval Forces Central Command Headquarters Afghanistan played the Battleship game on the side of a rocket attack bunker.

Activision Publishing, Inc. donated copies of the new Battleship video game to fourteen USO Centers, USO2GOs and MEGS in Southwest Asia. The game combines first person action and naval strategy for hours of fun and a little touch of home for our troops.

“It was a breath of fresh air in a combat zone to see the USO take the time out of their busy schedules to come and set this up for us.  The game was a blast, graphics were awesome, and it provided a nice change of pace…  The USO has certainly outdone themselves with the care they have shown towards the troops.” said YN2(SCW) Matthew Nolan.

Time to kick some alien butt!

Thanks Activision for helping the USO deliver a little gaming goodness to our troops overseas! – Vyque Elessar, USO Director of New Media