By by Pfc. Jessica M. KuhnJanuary 24, 2009
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - More than 67 years ago the United Services Organization built the first government-funded USO building at Fort Bragg. Since then, through times of peace and war, the USO has provided the Fayetteville and Fort Bragg community with a variety of quality services through Morale, Welfare and Recreation to our Soldiers and their Families.
The USO is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to connect the outside community to the military and their Families, explained Hoku Hobbs, the Fort Bragg USO center director.
Last July, the Fort Bragg USO opened the doors to their new recreation center, located next to the Blackjack Fitness Center on post, hoping to help create a place for Soldiers and their Families to come and relax free of charge.
The recreation center is open 365 days per year and offers several forms of entertainment for Soldiers and their Families.
"For those Soldiers who don't have Internet, we offer it free, as well as board games, billiards, books to read, a movie theater, game room and several fun activities that don't require you to spend any money," said Angela Eger, the media public relations volunteer for the Fort Bragg USO.
Besides the recreation center, the Fort Bragg USO is also involved in several outreach programs and activities.
"We try to attend all deployments and homecomings where we hand out care packages for the Soldiers," said Hobbs.
In addition to care packages, the Fort Bragg USO is also planning a new program called Smiles over the Miles.
"Smiles over the Miles is a program to help connect Families with deployed loved ones," explained Hobbs. "We plan on having a pizza party for Families to come and participate in a video taping session where they can record a message for their loved ones in either Iraq or Afghanistan to send to them. All they have to do is show up and record their message, while we take care of the rest."
The program is scheduled to start this February.
Meanwhile, the Fort Bragg USO has multiple events planned to help them collect donations.
"Everything you see at the recreation center and all of our programs run entirely off of donations," said Hobbs.
The Fort Bragg USO has scheduled some upcoming fundraisers to help bring in donations for the new recreation center and programs like Smiles over the Mile.
"Current fundraisers the USO has planned is a 5K Run/Walk for the Troops in March which will be open to everyone and be held at the Fayetteville Technical Community College, as well as a golf tournament in May to be held at Fort Bragg," explained Eger.
The fundraisers will help the USO with their need for donations, but those events wouldn't be possible without the help of volunteers, Hobbs said.
"Volunteers are the backbone of our organization, the heart and soul of everything we do," she explained.
For more information on the recreation center, upcoming programs and events, or volunteering, call the center at 495-1437 or visit www.uso-nc.org.