By Stephanie Rush, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii Public AffairsFebruary 7, 2011
WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD, Hawaii - Service members and their families traveling to and from the isle on Super Bowl Sunday have something extra special to look forward to while en route: the local United Service Organization's tailgate-themed birthday celebration.
"We at the USO are humbled and proud to have the privilege of serving America's finest military and their families and to be able to bring them a 'home away from home,'" said Thomas R. Kolstad, vice president, USO Pacific Region. "Mahalo to all the service and family members for all you do."
USO Hawaii locations at the Hickam Airport on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam and the Honolulu International Airport will serve chili, hot dogs and snacks, Sunday, starting at noon. The game will be broadcast within the USO lounges.
As of its birthday, the USO has been meeting the evolving needs of service members and their families for 70 years.
By order from President Franklin Roosevelt, six organizations mobilized to support the growing military to form the USO: the Salvation Army, the Young Men's Christian Association, the Young Women's Christian Association, National Catholic Community Services, National Travelers Aid Association and the National Jewish Welfare Board.
While the programs and services may have changed, the USO's mission hasn't changed since its inception in 1941: to provide emotional support for troops.
Currently, the USO supports service members in more than 130 locations, worldwide, with 44,000 paid staff and volunteers. In recent years, USO centers have been opened in Iraq, Qatar and Afghanistan to support current engagements. Whether in times of peace or war, the USO connects the military with the public by providing support, entertainment and recreational services to military members serving at home and abroad.
"Through the years, the USO has stayed in tune with the needs of our military members," said Eva Laird Smith, director, USO Hawaii. "USO has remained focused on their welfare, and on delivering goodness to those who serve our country best."
Become a USO Volunteer
Volunteers play a crucial role at the USO by providing hundreds of thousands of hours of service, from welcoming home deployed troops to providing support for individual service members and their families at USO centers. Find out more information at www.uso.org/ways-to-volunteer.aspx.
(Editor's Note: Information used from the USO's website, www.uso.org/.)