Saturday, July 04, 2015

Society Saturday - United Service Organizations

Kathy O'Connor, the Director of the USO of Missouri gave the program at the banquet at the Annual Congress of New England Women.  She told of the history of the organization, as well as some of the services that they provide.  It was clear that she is passionate about her work, and several of us were reaching for tissues during her talk.

The USO was founded in 1941to lift the spirits of our troops and their families.  They provide a lot of different supportive functions for active military, military families, and wounded soldiers.  There are 160 locations world wide with over 7 million visits per year.

The St. Louis airport location alone sees 8-10,000 visitors per month. They provide snacks, meals, a sleeping room, cyber cafe and nursery to military travelers.

Some of the support functions performed globally are:

  • escorting families of wounded and fallen servicemen to the hospital or final journey
  • assist wounded veterans who are transitioning after their recovery
  • provide entertainers to deployed servicemen (ie Bob Hope's tour).  Last year they had 94 entertainers in 54 tours.  Robin Williams was a popular entertainer before his death.  Gary Sinise and his Lt. Dan Band is a current favorite
  • for young family members, there is a Sesame street touring program
  • Deployed servicemen are able to record videos of them reading bedtime stories to their children
New England Women are supporting the USO in a Box program (also known as USO2Go).  The USO deploys a tent to an austere environment.  This tent has some of the comforts of home such as computers, TV with DVD players, computers with internet connections, video game systems, etc.  They provide an opportunity for a little rest and relaxation without leaving the area of deployment.

The four members of our Colony in attendance enjoyed learning more about the USO.

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