By Amy PerryDecember 2, 2010
FORT LEE, Va. (Dec. 2, 2010) -- An interior remodeling project at the new Fort Lee USO center is underway thanks to a generous donation by the Prince George's Lowe's hardware store.
The USO is set for a soft opening in December just before block leave and the facility's grand opening is planned for Jan. 11, 2011.
More than a dozen Lowe's employees came to the new USO center Monday to repaint inside the building, which was previously the Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation directorate headquarters.
Over the next few weeks, the store will replace the carpeting and install window treatments. Overall, nearly 40 employees will donate their time to help the Fort Lee community, said Brian Fox, store manager of the Prince George Lowe's.
"It's a great way to support our troops," said Fox. "They do a lot for us. They put their lives on the line every day to defend our freedoms. We feel it's a great cause do and a big thank you to them."
Nationally, Lowe's and the USO are teaming up to update several centers across the country, said Mary Moyer, regional operations manager of Hampton Roads and Central Virginia. The Fort Lee center was specifically chosen by the Prince George Lowe's as a project, and the work and products used equates to a $30,000 donation.
"We are ecstatic," said Moyer. "We did not think we would have the money at this point to do (any remodeling). We were going to work with what we had."
Several companies partnered with Lowe's to help provide the materials, said Fox, such as donations from Valspar for the paint, Wooster for the paint brushes and 3M for the tape.
Kasinda Thomas, the new Fort Lee USO director, said without the assistance from Lowe's, it would be unlikely the building would have the remodeling finished.
"It's a huge help," she said. "Without them, we would be relying heavily on our volunteer bases - which we haven't built up yet since we're new in this area. We also relied on the kindness of the students from the Fort Lee schools. They came in and primed and painted for us."
All the physical labor was done by the Lowe's employees who donated their time.