Being a military family the USO has been a common name to us. When my husband first joined the military and was sent to Bahrain the USO provided him with a gift bag with toiletries and snacks, it was nothing big but it made him feel more at home, and to know that someone cared meant a lot while he was thousands of miles from home.
While my husband was deployed the USO sponsored a program called United Through Reading. My husband could chose from a variety of children’s books, he could sit in room that the USO had set up with a video camera and he could record himself reading the book, when he was finished recording the USO shipped the book and DVD to my son. My husband was able to participate in the United Through Reading program twice, receiving that DVD meant everything to me and Little Man and we would watch it numerous times a day. Little Man couldn’t see his father in person while he was deployed, he was only 6 months when he left, but for the next 9 months he was able to watch the DVD of his Daddy reading a story to him.
The USO has also put on a number of free concerts for not only military families but for civilians also while we lived in Virgina. The concerts take place on the military bases, but the gates are open up to everyone. We have been able to attend free concerts on base that we could not have normally afforded including Dierks Bentley, Jason Aldean, and Josh Tuner. The concerts are all full length and usually lasted at least a couple hours. Everyone would bring their blankets and chairs and lay out on the grass, there was not a bad seat, and we could usually get really close. The concerts let us get away from the stresses of military training and deployments and let us enjoy time being a family.
Every year in Virginia Beach the USO also sponsors “A Christmas That You Missed” at Ocean Breeze Water Park. The families of all active duty and reserves are invited to attend and the park is closed to the general public one night every year. Free admission into the waterpark is provided as well as a free luncheon. The USO also hosts giveaways, including game systems, gift cards and small appliances, we won a Coffee Pot and Black & Decker Hedge Trimmer one year. My husband was deployed Little Man’s first Christmas and missed out on seeing him with Santa, the USO had Santa at the Water Park and my husband got to see Little Man with Santa for the first time, just a few months late. At the end of the night the USO sets up tables and you can choose from a variety of free DVDs and other small gifts.
I could go on and on about how much the USO did for us personally, they are an amazing organization and I am so thankful for everything that they do for the military and their families.
The USO’s support never stops, they are currently partnering with General Mills on a new sendCheer campaign.
This fall Cheerios® and the USO are partnering together to send “Cheer” to military
families to thank them for their commitment to our
country. Specially marked boxes of Cheerios cereal will be displayed at Walmart and will feature “Cheer”
postcards. Each postcard can be cut out and mailed to a military family.
For each postcard received,
Cheerios will donate $1 to the USO to help support programs for military
families. Cheerios has already donated $150,000 and will donate up to
an additional $100,000 based upon the number of postcards received by
November 30, 2012.
#sendCheer Twitter Party:
The #sendCheer Twitter party is tomorrow tonight, Thursday, November 10th at 9pm EST. For
more details, and to RSVP please visit Crazy Adventures in Parenting.
Disclosure: This post has been compensated as part of a sponsored charitable
opportunity for Collective Bias. All opinions are my own.