A service member signs in at the USO Las Vegas center inside McCarran International Airport.
What’s your favorite USO center? The USO asks troops and families to pick their favorite center each year through the TellUSO Survey and announces the winners at the annual USO Leadership Conference.
This year’s top overall center went to USO Las Vegas. It’s the second year in a row the Las Vegas airport center took home top prize. They earned the award for receiving the highest overall survey scores in categories like satisfaction, staff helpfulness and value.
But Las Vegas wasn’t the only center to take home a trophy last week. Here are the other winners by category:
An inside view of the USO at Las Vegas McCarran International Airport.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.–A host of USO centers took home honors this week – including top overall center USO Las Vegas McCarran International Airport – at Wednesday’s Second Annual Tell USO Awards. The awards are broken down by region and based solely on survey responses given by the troops and families who used the USO’s 160-plus locations around the world in 2013.
Here’s the list of winners:
Top Center: Las Vegas McCarran International Airport
- Top Domestic Airport Center, Small Division: Houston Hobby Airport
- Top Domestic Airport Center, Medium Division: Las Vegas McCarran International Airport
- Top Domestic Airport Center, Large Division: Lambert-St. Louis International Airport
- Top Domestic Installation Center, Small Division: Fort Bragg, North Carolina
- Top Domestic Installation Center, Medium Division: Fort Belvoir, Virginia
- Top Domestic Installation Center, Large Division: Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia (NMPS)
- Top Community Center: San Antonio Downtown
- Top Europe Center, Small Division: Warrior Center at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany
- Top Europe Center, Large Division: NSA Capodichino Air Terminal, Naples, Italy
- Top Pacific Center, Small Division: Osan Air Base, South Korea
- Top Pacific Center, Large Division: Guam
- Top Southwest Asia Center, Small Division: Shindand Air Base, Afghanistan
- Top Southwest Asia Center, Large Division: Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan
- Most Improved Center: Fort Belvoir, Virginia
- Most Improved Center: Boston Logan International Airport
- Most Improved Center: Camp Marmal, Afghanistan
- Up and Coming Center: NCBC Gulfport, Mississippi
- Up and Coming Center: Dulles International Airport, Virginia
- Up and Coming Center: Fayetteville Regional Airport, North Carolina
To mark Veterans Day, we asked some of our volunteers who have served in America’s armed forces to share why they give their time to today’s troops by helping the USO. Here is one of their stories.
I have experienced the gamut of deployments and welcome home ceremonies, both as a veteran as well as the parent of two sons who served their country. I am a former Army helicopter pilot having served two tours in Vietnam (1966-67, and 1969). I know firsthand the emotions of leaving a new bride after only a few months of marriage, and then a year later departing again to a combat zone. I’ve felt the elation of returning home to only a “Welcome” by family, and the sting and bitterness of an unsupportive nation during an unpopular war.
As a father, I’ve also experienced the anxiousness of sending off my oldest son—a Marine—and my youngest son—a sailor—to war during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Being a parent in this situation, the worry and concern for sending off children into harm’s way was more difficult to deal with than being sent to combat myself. After enduring the anticipation of their return from overseas, it is an indescribable feeling when they finally step off the plane or ship and are safe at home.
I’ve always said war is a young man’s game played with rules made by old men. Now, at the age of 66, I can give something back to the young men and women who are spouses, sons, daughters and maybe even parents themselves of our brave troops. I can empathize with almost every aspect of what it means for someone to serve our nation in the armed forces.
This is my reward for volunteering at the USO. It pays my heart in full.
USO Las Vegas Volunteer