Since its inception in 1941, the USO has been known as the “nation’s leading organization” to serve both men and women in the US military, and their families, throughout their time in uniform. From the moment they fill-out the enlistment paperwork, to when they finish basic training, receive orders for deployment, and try to adapt back into their communities, the USO is there every step of the way.
The USO at Fort Campbell has been an intricate part of the soldier community for ten years now (having celebrated its tenth birthday on 30 NOV 2021), and as the years have progressed, so has the involvement and adaptation of the organization itself. They provide countless programs and services in order to best meet the needs of any soldier/family dynamic. Executive Director, USO Fort Campbell and USO Nashville, Kari Moore explains, “The USO offers a reliable place to relax and connect. For Service Members, they know that they can always ‘ask the USO.’ While they are deployed, they know that we will support their family members back home.
Since January of 2012, the USO Fort Campbell has provided a Warrior Wednesday lunch for soldiers. These lunches, sponsored by community businesses, organizations, and clubs, typically feed about 200 soldiers each week, and are considered a cornerstone in USO Fort Campbell programming. Our Pathfinder Transition Program connects transitioning service members and spouses at all points of the military journey with opportunities to meet goals in employment, education, financial readiness, mentorship, and increased access to relevant veterans’ benefits. This one-on-one service creates personalized action plans to help clients navigate the steps to success.”
The USO is a non-profit organization separate from the federal government; meaning it’s a private entity. The organization itself was congressionally chartered and relies heavily on the generosity of individuals, organizations and corporations to support its activities, and is powered by a family of volunteers to accomplish its mission of connection. However, the USO Fort Campbell currently has a need for volunteers. The COVID-19 pandemic closed the center for a few months, and the organization has had a hard time rebuilding the volunteer force in its wake.
Moore remarks, “At this time, our biggest need in order to deliver our mission effectively is center volunteers. The mission of the USO is to strengthen America’s military service members by keeping them connected to family, home, and country throughout their service to the nation. Our center volunteers are a critical piece to delivering the day-to-day amenities to service members and their families. At USO Fort Campbell, those center volunteers might be welcoming guests at the front desk, offering a snack and beverage, serving meals, tidying up, checking out computers, or assisting with programs. We also need volunteers to staff the fitness center and to help us deliver Late Night USO.”
Moore adds, “The gap currently is center volunteers, so the staff - our Center Operations Supervisor, in particular - are working long days to make sure that we can stay open some days. It’s important to find volunteers because this incredible USO mission is truly only effective when volunteers are supporting the center operation. We only have four paid Operations staff that deliver the USO mission throughout Tennessee and most of Kentucky. Delivering our mission to those ‘white spaces’ often takes staff out of the center and sometimes across the state. We can do so much more when volunteers are delivering the mission in the center.”
SERVICES THEY OFFER
Computer Labs and Laptops
Buzztime Trivia Tablets
Video Game Consoles
Whether it’s once every week, or once every three months, any time spent volunteering alongside the USO would be valued and appreciated. To find out more about the USO or how you can volunteer to assist with the USO’s mission to support soldiers and their families, contact Kari Moore at (270) 660-9068 or email@example.com/