USO Arizona Volunteer Sacrifices Sleep so Stranded Troops and Families Have a Place to Stay

When Michelle Selby showed up to volunteer at the USO Arizona center at the Phoenix International Airport last week, she had no idea it was going to be an overnight shift.

But after a large sand storm (called a haboob) blanketed Phoenix — and stranded many traveling service members and their families overnight in the airport — Selby decided to make sure they had a comfortable place to spend the night.

“It makes you feel good when you can do something like that,” Selby said.

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USO Arizona is normally open to service members and their families daily until 8 p.m., unless special extended hours are requested ahead of time. But Selby chose to stay up all night so the USO Arizona center could stay open for the stranded military travelers.

“I just kept thinking, I wouldn’t be able to sleep when I got home,” Selby said. “As tired as I was getting, I couldn’t get myself to leave.”

Initially Selby thought she’d be able keep the center open until 10 p.m. But before she knew it, it was midnight, so she decided to keep the center open for as long as she could stay awake.

“I just didn’t have the heart to go wake them all up and say ‘You guys have to go sleep on the floor out in the airport, I’m going home to my comfy bed,’” Selby said.

Selby, whose son serves in the Air Force, hopes her actions inspire others to volunteer for the USO.

“My whole incentive when I’m at the USO is to try to treat people like I would want my son to be treated and taken care of,” Selby said.

National Guard Keeps the East Coast Safe from the Storm

As USO Centers along the east coast have greeted Troops whose flights are delayed or cancelled because of the Blizzard of 2010, one group is tackling the snow head on: the National Guard.

“‘This is our job, and this is what we do,’ said Army Maj. Gen. Errol R. Schwartz, commanding general of the D.C. Guard Joint Force Headquarters. ‘We have always answered the call for help from the District of Columbia at a moment’s notice, and our people have done a tremendous job in supporting emergency missions during this historic blizzard.’”  -Click here to read the complete DC National Guard news release.

National Guard Blizzard 2010

Soldiers from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 116th Infantry Brigade, prepare their vehicles for potential missions in the Staunton, Va area, Feb. 5. Approximately 30 Soldiers from the Brigade are on state active duty in the Staunton area ready to assist local authorities in case of emergency. The Soldiers will be positioned in area emergency operation centers. (Photos by Capt. Matt Nowak, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs

The Virginia National Guard, meanwhile, is dispatching up to 500 personnel throughout Sunday and the governor continues to urge residents to stay home for the Super Bowl, as even Humvees are finding themselves mired in the snow!  -Click here to read locations and additional info from WHSV.com

We still think we’d rather be in a Humvee than an SUV, as evidenced by this video:

National Guard units in Delaware, West Virginia, and Maryland are responding similarly, with Delaware dispatching troops “in about 75 Humvees and other specialized vehicles [to take] police, doctors and nurses to and from work. They drove patients to emergency room appointments such as dialysis treatments. They took people without power to shelters.”  These essential acts are the hallmark of National Guard activity in times of emergency.  -Click here to read the full story from Delaware Online.