By Kate Mansell, Fort Leonard WoodJune 12, 2014
Expectant mothers were greeted by the USO's surprise Bundles and Boots Baby Shower as they entered through the General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital's main doors the morning of June 4.
"I was definitely shocked, I was just coming here to get breakfast after pregnancy physical training," said Amanda Albright.
Albright, due with a baby girl next month, was one of the 70 expectant mothers to receive gifts from the USO. Giveaway items included: pack and plays, high chairs, car booster seats, clothing, toys, blankets and diapers.
"I think it is a very nice gesture, considering that the items they are giving away are so expensive. They are definitely going to be helpful," she said.
This was the second time the USO has held a baby shower. The first was held in May of 2012 at the post USO and provided gifts to 125 military Families expecting a new child.
"These items have all been stockpiled through great donors and through Heroes Care," said Kelly Brownfield, director of the Fort Leonard Wood USO.
Brownfield hopes the USO will be able to recreate this event once a year, as donations allow.
"It's important that we try to touch all aspects of the military, not just the military members but their Family as well," she said.
This year's event also included a visit to the mother and baby unit at GLWACH. Four mothers with newborns and one mother in labor also received the big-ticket giveaway items from the USO.
"This is a big surprise. We don't have any of that stuff at the house," said new father, Andres Quintero after he received the USO volunteers' delivery.
Quintero and his wife welcomed their first child, a son, at GLWACH on June 2.
The Fort Leonard Wood USO is loacted on Iowa Ave. and is available to Soldiers Thursday through and Sunday. Outside of special events, the center also offers recreational activities, computer access, and more to entertain Soldiers who are away from home.
"They aren't waiting for Soldiers to come to them, they are out in the community looking for ways they can serve the Soldiers," said Col. Marie Dominguez, GLWACH commander, of the USO when she arrived to watch the surprise unfold.
Maj. Gen. Leslie Smith, Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood commanding general, was also able to stop by and witness the event.
"I think that the USO is one of those organizations that makes a difference in our community. They step up and do things that we ask them to do and then things that we can't even think about. I am blown away; everything they do is top notch," Smith said.