40 Years of Solutions: USO Okinawa’s Kina Much More Than an Electrician

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By all accounts, Seifuku Kina embodies the spirit of the USO.

USO Okinawa’s jack-of-all-trades is marking his 40th anniversary with the organization this month. The celebrations started with an award presentation by USO President Sloan Gibson last week at USO Futenma and will culminate the last full week of July, when he’ll travel to each of Okinawa’s five centers for small celebrations in his honor.

Kina – who lost four uncles in World War II’s Battle of Okinawa – went to work for the U.S. Army as a contractor after the war ended to help support his parents and six younger siblings. He learned his technical skills through a combination of books, observation and trial and error. While working for the Army, Kina started helping out at the USO in his off hours, and was hired July 20, 1973 as a part-time employee. His electrical skills proved valuable, and his overall repertoire was of such high quality that the USO hired him as a full time technician in 1976.

Longevity and family are two significant themes in Kina’s life. He’s been married for 45 years and has four children and 10 grandchildren. Kina’s family also extends to the USO. He says he’s had other offers throughout the years, but felt his job with the organization always gave him a sense of both purpose and appreciation, which in turn made all of his hard work more enjoyable.

You can learn more about Kina in this December 2010 Your USO at Work profile.

–Story by USO Story Development

USO AMC Terminal at Kadena AFB Gets a Makeover!

The USO AMC Terminal lounge officially reopened with a ribbon cutting ceremony on September 20, 2010. (Photo by USO Okinawa)

During the month of September, our team at USO Okinawa worked hard to upgrade and renovate the USO AMC terminal at Kadena AFB with the special help of a few great volunteers who took charge to make it all happen.

This project was spearheaded by my wife Debbie Kolstad (wife of USO Regional Vice President for the Pacific Thomas Kolstad), volunteer coordinator Shirley Smiley and her husband Tom Smiley, and AMC Command Billy Fisher from DRMO.  They cleaned, sorted, scrubbed, painted, selected furnishings, and arranged and decorated with all of the new furniture.

It was truly a collaborative effort, with Air Mobility Command (AMC) helping to provide for the furniture and fixtures; the Air Force donating and installing carpet for the luggage room; donations of three appliances and a 42″ TV; and donated paint applied – along with wall decor –  by the volunteers.  The space was completed with 17 USO posters from the Arlington.  A huge thank you goes out to each and every volunteer who helped make this happen!

BEFORE: A fresh coat of paint was just one step of many during the three-week process of renovating the lounge! (Photo by USO Okinawa)

As reported by Airman 1st Class Maeson L. Elleman, 18th Wing Public Affairs, thousands of travelers pass through Kadena’s Air Mobility Command passenger terminal. The journey usually includes waiting hours on end before heading to their final destinations.

“It looks really nice, and it’s an inviting place,” Brig. Gen. Ken Wilsbach, 18th Wing commander said at the ribbon cutting ceremony Sep. 20. “In the past, maybe people wouldn’t have used it because it wasn’t as nice, but now it’s more inviting and more comfortable.  Volunteers put their hearts and souls into making it a nice place for Airmen and their families to rest.”

The USO has been a part on Okinawa for more than 50 years, providing servicemembers with an entourage of assistance and information to help ease the burdens of traveling.

“If you just pop in on a Space-A flight, and you end up spending a night, you don’t necessarily know where everything is, so it’s a great source of information,” stated General Wilsbach.

The terminal USO is open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Gardner Williams, manager of the AMC terminal and Gate 2 USOs, said people can volunteer to help the USO to keep it open longer or more days by going by either USO on base and filling out a volunteer form. People can also donate money or baked goods to either USO to support servicemembers and their families.

The refurbished main seating area features a flat-screen, high-definition TV with a surround-sound system and Blu-Ray player, several new leather couches, free wireless Internet, an Internet phone. (Photo by USO Okinawa)

Kids now have a special place to play and nap peacefully! (Photo by USO Okinawa)