Dearfoams’ Celebrity Slipper Fairies Give the Gift of Comfort to the USO This Holiday Season

Dearfoams is honored to give back to the USO (United Service Organizations) this Christmas by hosting the Celebrity Slipper Fairy Challenge. Celebrities, including Mario Lopez (host of “Extra,” “Saved by the Baby”), Gretchen Rossi (“The Real Housewives of Orange County”), Madison Pettis (The Game Plan, Disney’s “Cory in the House,”), Shaunie O’Neal (“Basketball Wives”), George Wallace (performer, The Flamingo Las Vegas), and You-Tube sensation Elle Fowler, will be donating over 3,500 pairs of Dearfoams to the soldiers as a holiday gift. The goal of The Celebrity Slipper Fairy Challenge is to visit USO locations across the country and bring comfort to the soldiers and their families this holiday.

“We are so pleased to honor the USO and give back to the soldiers and their families,” says Rachel Iannarino, Dearfoams Sr. Brand Manager, R.G. Barry Corporation. “We want our gift to bring joy, comfort, and happiness to the soldiers who fight every day to protect our country. To have help from our celebrity friends is an extreme honor and we couldn’t be more proud of being able to deliver the gift of comfort. We are grateful for the privilege and opportunity to give something back to those who give their all.”

“On behalf of the USO we would like to say thank you to Dearfoams for their gracious gift to our service men and women,” said Cathy Martens, USO Vice President of Corporate Alliance. “This is a great touch of home for our troops during the holidays.”

Dearfoams will donate 3,500 slippers to soldiers and their families at various bases across the United States including USO Fort Riley (Kansas), USO Denver, USO South Carolina, USO Houston, and USO Fort Hood (Texas). Each location will receive a generous donation on the behalf the Dearfoams Celebrity Slipper Fairies just in time for Christmas.

For more information about Dearfoams, visit http://www.Dearfoams.com and to watch The Celebrity Slipper Fairy Videos, visit www.slipperfairy.com. To learn more about the USO and to give a little to those who give their all, visit: http://www.uso.org.

Photos from the Field – September 2010

Periodically, we’re bringing you the best in USO photography from around the world.  Enjoy this latest installment of our photo essays!

(P.S. – if you know any of the photographers of images that don’t credit one, please let us know!)

A panoramic shot of the recently built center at USO Fort Riley. What a view! (Photo by Virginia Hagin of HaginPhotography)

A group of Marines serving in Afghanistan enjoy some comforts of home courtesy of their USO2Go kits. (Photo by their Command Chaplain)

Flyover in formation as part of Korean Air Force training for Armed Forces Day. (Photo courtesy of USO Korea Facebook page)

Morning rising above Sather Air Base, home of the USO Baghdad. (USO photo by Richard McCarty, via USO Baghdad Facebook page)

USO Fort Riley Center Celebrates 10,000 Visits

Congratulations to USO Fort Riley's 10,000th visitor, Horatio Aguilera! (USO photo by April Blackmon)

Fort Riley, Kan. – USO Fort Riley greeted its 10,000th visitor Sept. 7 after a little more than three months in operation.

Spc. Horatio Aguilera, who has become one of the many regular visitors to the center, signed in Tuesday afternoon, marking the center’s milestone. Programs Manager Kara Salvati presented him with a USO goodie bag.

“I’m happy to know that each day, an average of 100 visitors have been enjoying the variety of services the USO offers,” Salvati said. “Of course, we couldn’t provide the many services we offer without the hard work and of our wonderful volunteers.”

Since its grand opening, USO Fort Riley has averaged 67 volunteers a month in the center, totaling more than 5,300 hours of service. The center’s top volunteer, Team Leader Kristen Davidson, has given more than 240 hours helping keep the center running smoothly.

“It’s amazing that 99 percent of our volunteers are service members, family members of soldiers and military retirees who dedicate themselves to help keep us running,” said Director April Blackmon. “We are an extended family here at the USO.”

A 501(c)(3) non-profit, the USO survives off of the support of donors both financially and with in-kind donations. From baking goodies to donating video games, books and DVDs, every contribution has helped put a smile on a soldier’s or family member’s face, Blackmon said.

“Our donors have helped us to truly serve as a ‘home away from home’ for our troops and their families by providing them with so many free services in an area that truly makes you feel at home,” she said.

Fort Riley is open every day of the year. Hours of operation are Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and weekends, Noon to 6 p.m.

Photos From the Field – Labor Day Edition

Our service men and women around the world never take a day off, and neither do we!  There are a variety of picnics and parades taking place at USO Centers, and our dedicated staff and volunteers will be there.  As a special Labor Day treat, we’re bringing you the best in USO photography from around the world.  Enjoy this special holiday installment of our photo essays!

(P.S. – if you know any of the photographers of images that don’t credit one, please let us know!)

The USO Warrior Center enjoyed a surprise visit from Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on Sept. 4, 2010. Note the copy of On Patrol magazine on the table in the background! (DoD Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley/Released)

No, it's not a cell phone commercial, it's just golfers at the 19th Annual USO Golf Tournament in Stuttgart. Held at Korwestheim Golf Course, the tournament serves as fun cultural event to bring together USO Stuttgart's American and German friends! (Photo courtesy of USO-Stuttgart's Facebook page)

The USO Puget Sound Area Gala 2010 is scheduled for Friday, October 1st at the Museum of Flight, where this picture was recently snapped. For more information on the event - or to purchase tickets - contact Gala Chair Nancy Strom, vnstrom@aol.com. (Photo courtesy of USO Puget Sound Facebook page)

USO of Indiana - in coordination with the University Relations Division of the University of Notre Dame - encouraged staff and their families to create their own personalized thank you message for the troops, which will be taken to the USO center at Camp Atterbury, as well to the USO Airport Center in Indianapolis. (Photo courtesy of USO of Indiana's Facebook page)

A dark and stormy day at USO Fort Riley! Luckily the storm steered clear of the center, but we couldn't resist this picture! (Photo courtesy of USO Fort Riley Facebook page)

You know that the new USO Center at Kandahar is just about ready to open when the theater gets furniture! This center has been months and months in the making and we can't wait for it to open. (Photo courtesy of USO Kandahar Facebook page)

USO Opens Its First Center in Kansas!

(L-R) Col. Brown, Fort Riley Garrison commander; Sloan Gibson, USO president & CEO; April Blackmon, USO Fort Riley director; Mrs. Carol Brooks, wife of Maj. Gen. Vincent Brooks, commanding general of the 1st Infantry Division & Fort Riley; David McIntyre, President & CEO of TriWest Healthcare Alliance; and Brig. Gen. David Petersen, 1st Inf. Div. and Fort Riley deputy commanding general cut the ribbon at the grand opening on USO Fort Riley on May 25, 2010. (USO Photo by Virginia Hagin)

“USO Fort Riley is a home away from home for our service members and families – a place for them to unwind and feel comfortable. We are extremely grateful for the support of our partners and the Fort Riley community, as well as the dedication of our wonderful volunteers.” – April Blackmon, Center Director at USO Fort Riley.

This week, we opened our first center in Kansas – USO Fort Riley – to serve the more than 23,000 troops and family members stationed on one of the largest U.S. Army installations in the United States. The new center will be open 365 days a year to provide a wide variety of programs for the Fort Riley military community.

With 7,000 square feet of room, this center features a computer lab with nine computer stations and WiFi connectivity; a video gaming area with Xbox®, Sony Playstation 3, and Nintendo® Wii™ consoles; a library and family room; pool, air hockey, foosball, shuffleboard, poker and chess tables; a movie theater with a large DVD and Blu-ray library; nine televisions with DirecTV; a United Through Reading® recording area, outdoor patio, snack bar and fire place lounges.

We’d like to thank the Department of Defense for their cooperation in opening the center, and the generosity of the TriWest Healthcare Alliance, Mark Gelfand, United Renovations and Harbor Group, and donations from the public that make it all possible.  David J. McIntyre, Jr., President and CEO of TriWest Healthcare Alliance & USO Board Member has this to say: “The USO Center offers Fort Riley-based men and women a place to relax, have fun and meet friends. TriWest is proud to contribute to the construction of this new center as a thank you to Service members and their families who sacrifice so much in defense of our nation.”

We say thank you, too and can’t wait to hear the great stories from USO Fort Riley.  Enjoy more photos below!

Col. Brown, Fort Riley Garrison commander, greets center visitors at the standing-room-only USO Fort Riley grand opening on May 25, 2010. (USO Photo by Virginia Hagin)

USO Fort Riley opened to more than 100 guests on May 25, 2010, providing a "home away from home" to service members and their families. (USO Photo by Virginia Hagin)

USO Fort Riley features a computer lab with WiFi connectivity, a video gaming area, library & family rooms, game tables, movie theater, televisions, a United Through Reading® recording area, patio, snack bar and lounges. (USO Photo by Virginia Hagin)

Service members enjoy the gaming area at the new USO Fort Riley center, the first USO center in Kansas, during a grand opening celebration on May 25, 2010. (USO Photo by Virginia Hagin)

USO Fort Riley volunteers help serve dozens of troops outside of the USO Mobile Canteen during the grand opening of USO Fort Riley on May 25, 2010. (USO Photo by Virginia Hagin)