United Through Reading’s 100,000th Recording Makes It All the Way to Germany!

Sgt. Sosa (c) prepares to read a book to his family back home as CASF USO Manager Rebecca Voelker (r) looks on. (USO Photo by Mrs. Marquita Milligan)

As we were proud to announce earlier this month, United Through Reading’s Military Program and the USO celebrated the 100,000th recording at Virginia Beach’s Patriotic Festival.  Across the Atlantic, USO Centers in Germany also celebrated this milestone

USO Kaiserslautern offers two USO locations for United Through Reading: the Contingency Aeromedical Staging Facility and the Warrior Center. USO Kaiserslautern is excited to announce two more USO centers that just started offering United Through Reading in June: the Deployment Center on Rhine Ordnance Barracks and the Ramstein Terminal. The USO located at the Ramstein Terminal is an open United Through Reading facility for all military ID cardholders in the KMC.

Sgt. Herriot writes a note back to his family before reading a book as part of the United Through Reading program at CASF USO. (USO Photo by Mrs. Marquita Milligan)

On June 15, 2010 the AFN Kaiserslautern news crew came to the CASF USO to record a story over this great accomplishment and interviewed Sgt. Sosa and Sgt. Herriot, two active duty military fathers who work at the CASF. Sgt. Sosa and Sgt. Herriot discussed their feelings over the program and were recorded reading books to their children.  Rebecca Voelker, CASF USO Manager, was interviewed as well and discussed the importance of the United Through Reading program and the significance of the 100,000th recording.  Watch the video below!

USO Kaiserslautern employee Fawn Bennett said she is excited United Through Reading has reached its 100,000th reading.  “The United Through Reading program is truly an awesome idea. The feedback we have been given by the servicemembers has always been outstanding,” she said. “When the child sees the bright yellow package, they know there is a book and a story waiting for them from a loved one.”

Be sure to “Like” CASF USO Germany and USO Grafenwoehr on Facebook and follow USO Grafenwoehr on Twitter, too!

News & Notes from Around the World

On 29 April, 2010 the CASF USO hosted nine cartoonist from the National Cartoonist Society.  Approximately  50 patients and CASF staff members joined in the fun by having their caricatures drawn as well as their favorite cartoon characters.  The evening was sweetened by a variety desserts.  A great time was had by all.

A servicemember has his likeness done in caricature by one of the visiting cartoonists.

At USO Hawaii, Marines and a Corpsman from the Wounded Warrior Detachment, Kaneohe Marine Corps Base Hawaii were treated to chartered deep sea fishing through USO’s Operation Enduring Care program on Friday April 3.  The sport fishing charter left the Marine Corps Community Service Outdoor Recreation marina promptly at 7 a.m. for the six-hour excursion.  The Wounded Warriors spent the day casting and reeling.  The charter’s captain and his crew were available to assist with the warriors’ catch of the day.

It was a good day for fishing with (left to right) HM2 David Provost, LCpl Perry Crawford, LCpl Blaze Cox, LCpl Jason Grivas, Cpl Beau Parra, Sgt Jacob Cash, and members of the boat's crew.

Sather AB recently hosted a ping-pong tournament.  It was a hard-fought competition taken very seriously by all the 16 finalists.  Sponsored by the USO, the three winners received AAFES gift cards and they must have needed to buy something very special at the PX because they fought long and hard for these prizes!

A1C Josep (l) came in third and MSG Smith (r) came in second. We can't even see the ball!

And finally, here’s a special shoutout all the way from Afghanistan to the USO for our support of the upcoming Warrior Games in Colorado.  Hoo-rah!

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Easter Across the Ocean

Earlier this week, the CASF USO staff hosted a breakfast for 25 wounded service members and the CASF Staff.  Scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes, toast, muffins, juice – anything else you can think of – were made fresh right in the center.

There was also an egg hunt outside of the CASF where everyone had an opportunity to win great prizes like coffee mugs, chocolate bunnies, electric tooth brushes and goodie bags.  Looks like a fun and tasty way to celebrate the holiday!

Way to go! The egg hunt was a smashing success, with great prizes for all.

A breakfast with all the fixin's was almost as good as Mom makes...almost!

On March 27and 28 USO Rhein-Main area had a fun photo opportunity when the Easter Bunny hopped on over to the Hainerberg PX Food Court. Eighty-three soldiers and family members had their photos taken.  Thanks to all of the dedicated USO volunteers who made this possible!  These are some of our favorite photos…

Who wouldn't smile sitting next to this bunny? We love their spring-colored outfits - too cute!

Kids of all ages - including kids at heart - shared a smile with the Easter Bunny.

USO’s Wearing O’ the Green

St. Patrick’s Day is just for the Irish? Not at USO Centers around the world, where Troops, staff, and volunteers celebrated their Irish heritage (real or imagined!) with refreshments, entertainment, and a jig or two. Check out some pictures from this week’s celebrations…

On March 16th, 2010, the USO Warrior Center hosted a Pre-St. Patty's Day celebration. The wounded warriors enjoyed a wonderful performance by the Tir na nOg Dancers. The dancer's ages ranged from 7-17 years old. During the delicious home cooked Irish dinner the wounded warriors were entertained by an Irish band from Dublin, Ireland named, Bog O' the Lough. This was a great night and the 100 wounded warriors in attendance had a great time. Several wounded warriors stated they had a great time letting loose and celebrating Irish style!

USO and MRW at Camp Virginia co-hosted our annual St. Patrick’s Day party on . . . St. Patrick’s Day (17 March)! The Dusty Room was beautifully decorated for the occasion in numerous shades of green. Partygoers played Toss the Gold Coin, Pin the Shamrock on the Leprechaun, and Musical Chairs. We held a raffle and provided chips, dips, green O’Doul’s, and a beautiful and delicious cake. Everyone in attendance had a brilliantly good time.

The CASF USO staff hosted a St Patty's day dinner for approximately 50 members of the CASF staff on March 17, 2010. The staff joined in by cooking fresh reuben sandwiches and making rootbeer floats We offered goodies such as Irish stew, shepherds pie and dessert right here in the USO. We played pin the leaf on the shamrock for a $50 USO tour voucher. The deployed staff here do not have a kitchen in their rooms or family here with them. We try to make sure they know they are appreciated and well fed. If we can help them to feel at home for even a moment we have done our job well.