14 September 2010

I've been branded and I'm proud of it!

I've been branded. :)

The more I learn about the USO, the more proud I am to work for such an amazing organization!  The Director of Recruitment, Maggie, told me during my interview that there would be at least one thing a day that would make me tear up during this job, and she was right!  Today they were talking about the United Through Reading program where we'll record a soldier reading to his or her children back home and then we'll send the DVD back home.  They said that there was one mom who wrote in that her young daughter would do this weird wiggling thing right in front of the tv when she played the DVD of her father reading and she asked her what she was doing and she responded that she was trying to sit on his lap.  They said another mom wrote in that after the dad was done reading her son walked up to the tv with another book and said, okay now this one Daddy!  I just feel so honored that I'll get to be a part of that!  They also were discussing the Sesame Street Live program.  This is where in a partnership with Sesame Street they take a special performance of Sesame Street Live to families of deployed soldiers in the States, Europe and Korea.   Apparently in one particular performance Elmo said that he missed his daddy when he was deployed and a little boy in the audience yelled out, "Yeah me too!" and then all the kids in the audience started nodding and saying they missed their parents too, they said it became this amazing impromptu toddler support group.  

These are just some of the programs.  Everyone I have met is equally as touching.  Bruce was in my Orientation group, he was in the Airforce for countless years, was also a Thunderbird, retired, and now is working for the USO in Dover.  Dover is where the families of deceased troops come first when their loved one is shipped back from overseas.  I couldn't imagine the kind of strength it would take to do that position day in and day out supporting people who have just lost a loved one.  Everyone is so dedicated to each position they hold.  It's really interesting to see how all the parts fit together.  There's people who try to get corporate sponsorships so our troops deployed can get free phone cards from AT&T and events like a flag football game in Iraq with NFL players because Fritos paid for it.  Then there's the people working with volunteers, and the people that plan the entertainment, and the people that market USO, and the people that do the IT support so we can call back home when we're "downrange" to all the braniacs who compute everything so we have data on our progress.  Without any particular one piece of this puzzle, in nice terms, we'd be screwed.

In other news, our transport orders didn't come through, so we're stuck in DC for a little while until those go through.  I like that we'll have this transition time.  I'll be working in the donor department tomorrow and until we get shipped out.  I'm excited to see this side of the organization and really get a feel for it before I go overseas and start working.

My going away parties were wonderful!  I loved having the chance to just hang out with all my friends from everywhere.  It's sad that it takes someone going half way across the world or a wedding once a year to get together like that.  It was all really fun, even though my Herd lost, in a heartbreaking game :(  I have received so many touching gifts.  Thank you to everyone who gave me a card, or hugged me, or came to my party!
This is Hero, he's been to Kosovo, Iraq, Kuwait, Germany, and Okinawa with the American Red Cross, now he's hitching a ride with the USO to Afghanistan!  My former professor, Maryl Neff who worked with the ARC lent him to me, so he could see some more of the world!  The bracelet around his neck was given to me by my friend, Lindsey because she said she saw it and thought of me.  It says, "Live the life you imagine"

1 comment:

  1. I love it! But you do realize that "USOs" in the photo are backwards, right? I'm glad Hero could enjoy the spotlight here. :-) mn