USO South Carolina Welcomes Troops and Military Families to Newly Renovated USO Center

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Military leaders, local dignitaries, USO volunteers and community supporters commemorate the re-opening of USO Center at Columbia Metropolitan Airport.

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Most of them (soldiers) have never been out of their home state and they land and they see the smiling faces and the huge hearts of the volunteers that work at the USO.

Today more than 200 guests including local dignitaries, military leaders, service men and women and USO volunteers were on hand to celebrate the grand re-opening of the newly renovated USO South Carolina. The USO Center was originally built in June 2010, and with a footprint of more than 7,000 troops per month, a remodel was in order.

“Just yesterday afternoon, as we were preparing the Center for the ceremony today, our staff and volunteers served 500 service men and women in just a few hours,” said Joanie Thresher, USO South Carolina Center Director. “Columbia is such a military community and we are so thankful that everyone came together to make this renovation a reality."

The remodeled, 900 square foot center is located in the Arrivals Terminal of the Columbia Metropolitan Airport where more than 20% of the airport’s traffic is military. In addition to the Columbia Airport location, USO South Carolina conducts outreach throughout the state of South Carolina offering programs and services to military and their families- supporting them during training, deployment and all cycles of military life.

“As the operational tempo changes for our service members, as the needs of families and their service members change, please know that the USO will always be there by your side,” said Alan Reyes, Senior Vice President of Operations for the USO. “Whether it is an opportunity to meet you when you first join the military, or when your family is home while you are deployed and we take them to a Sesame Street show or have a United Through Reading recording brought to your son or daughter, we promise that the USO will always be there by your side.”

The renovated center was made possible by many organizations such as the Armed Forces Family Foundation, Moore Quality Builders, Valspar Paint, Solid Surfaces, Inc. and the Columbia Metropolitan Airport. The Center features new electronics, flooring, and furniture.

South Carolina is the home to McIntire Air Force Base, Shaw Air Force Base, Fort Gordon, McEntire Joint National Guard Base and Camp McCrady. Every month USO South Carolina volunteers and staff serve nearly 7,000 troops.

“The USO has been at this great mission, of lifting the spirits of American troops and their families and I can tell you nowhere is that more important than the areas that accept our brand new soldiers for initial entry training,” said Brigadier General Peggy Combs, Interim Commander, US Army Training Center at Fort Jackson. “These soldiers leave the military entrance and processing station probably with a lot of apprehension and a little bit of fear about ‘what have I gotten myself into’ and they board a plane and come here to a place they have probably never been. Most of them have never been out of their home state and they land and they see the smiling faces and the huge hearts of the volunteers that work at the USO. “

USO South Carolina is supported by more than 125 volunteers who have given 5,000 hours of their time and talents to support military and their families this year. For more information about volunteering visit http://www.usovolunteer.org. To learn more about USO South Carolina and USO Centers around the world, visit http://www.uso.org.

Click here for photos from today’s event.

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About the USO
The USO lifts the spirits of America’s troops and their families millions of times each year at hundreds of places worldwide. We provide a touch of home through centers at airports and military bases in the U.S. and abroad, top quality entertainment and innovative programs and services. We also provide critical support to those who need us most, including forward-deployed troops, military families, wounded warriors and families of the fallen. The USO is a private, non-profit organization, not a government agency. Our programs and services are made possible by the American people, support of our corporate partners and the dedication of our volunteers and staff.

In addition to individual donors and corporate sponsors, the USO is supported by President’s Circle Partners: American Airlines, AT&T, Clear Channel, The Coca-Cola Company, Grand Canyon University, jcpenney, Jeep, Kangaroo Express, Kroger, Lowe’s, Northrop Grumman Corporation, Procter & Gamble and TriWest Healthcare Alliance and Worldwide Strategic Partners: BAE Systems, The Boeing Company, Lockheed Martin, Microsoft Corporation and TKS Telepost Kabel-Service Kaiserslautern GmbH & Co. KG. We are also supported through the United Way and Combined Federal Campaign (CFC-11381). To join us in this patriotic mission, and to learn more about the USO, please visit uso.org.

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Andrea Sok
USO
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