We are proud to announce that 2017 was a very successful year. Some of the highlights are as follows:
2017 Highlights: • Over 180,723 service members and their families served • Over $1,400,000 in program support provided • Over 920 volunteers worked our events equaling more than 39,000+ volunteer hours • $20,000 in Military Grant Requests were distributed
• We received a generous donation of 75,000 bottles of water – that’s 36 pallets. This created quite the logistical challenge since we don’t have any storage space large enough for 36 pallets. However, through the strong partnership we have with the Guard, we were able to have these pallets delivered and stored at Beitler. Once receiving the water, we distributed the pallets to various units throughout the 65 counties. We were also able to use the water for Operation Military Kids Camp on Kelleys Island and at various events our USO-CSO hosted throughout the year.
• February marked the one-year anniversary of our opening the WPAFB USO Center. In the one year since our opening, we served almost 30,000 service members and their families. We continue to grow and offer more programs at this wonderful location. Average guests through a single month range between 4,000-5,000. One great event we hosted at the center was the Marry Me Military, where military brides were able to come to the center and meet with various vendors, receive goodie bags and have a chance on raffle baskets, all while picking out a designer bridal gown that they could have … for free!
• In June, we partnered with Kroger for a BBQ for the troops for the Columbus Navy Operational Support Center, feeding over 500 sailors and their families.
• In May, we celebrated the 5-year anniversary for the USO lounges at CVG Airport. CVG along with our other airport lounges at Dayton and Columbus and the MEPS lounge have all seen a marked increase in traffic at each location.
• The inaugural Cincinnati Military Appreciation event was held at historic Memorial Hall. Military leaders from several Cincinnati branches spoke to the audience. Everyone enjoyed hearing the Wright Brass, from Wright-Patterson’s Band of Flight. • Over 2,500 tickets to the Buckeye Country Superfest were donated to us to give to active duty, families and veterans. Our service members were given tickets to the three days of concerts. When they came to claim their tickets, they also got to enjoy a BBQ for the Troops hosted by our USO.
• Almost 2,500 Airmen from the 130th Air Wing of the WV National Guard were deployed, and our USO was able to support their unit as they were sent off. We were also there for support upon their return in November. • We were also on hand when the 31st ICBT returned from a one-year deployment to Kosovo in June and also supported their Holiday Event in December with Coca Cola Consolidated Message in a Bottle program. The USO Show Troupe performed, the unit had a delicious lunch, we arranged for Santa to be there for pictures and distributed toys generously donated by CRT Realtors. • The first ever Mess Hall Madness was held at WPAFB USO. Chef Robert Irvine was one of three celebrity judges for the cook-off between four of our service members. The Radio City Rockettes were also in attendance and performed in the base theater as the final judging was being conducted. All enjoyed a fantastic BBQ after the performance. The guests had the opportunity to mingle and take their pictures with Chef Irvine as well as many of the Rockettes. • In September, we again partnered with Kroger to have a BBQ for the troops for the 123d Air Control Squadron in Cincinnati. We fed over 450 Air National Guard and their families for the first family unit event since returning from Deployment last year. Many said that this was their best family day they have ever had. • Ohio State Buckeyes played the Army Golden Knights in September. Our USO was on hand to welcome the Army football team to Columbus as they arrived at the hotel. As they got off the bus, they each received a welcome bag, filled with water, Buckeyes, challenge coins and more. We also paid for their lunch as they went in to the team meetings. Army was very grateful for our hospitality and said no one has ever done that for them as they travelled for “away” games. • In partnership with Coca Cola Consolidated, we also had a Message in a Bottle event at a Reds game. 600 members of our military and their families, as well as veterans and retirees, were treated to tickets to the game, vouchers for the vendors in Great American Ball Park, and a performance by the USO Show Troupe.
• Hurricane season affected many people across the U.S. and in the Caribbean. Both the Ohio and Kentucky National Guard were deployed, on a moment’s notice, to support the Hurricane Relief Efforts. We made sure that as they deployed, they received care packages filled with necessary items to help sustain them while deployed. In the USO care packages, they received toiletries, sunscreen, wipes, snacks and more. • Through corporate partnerships with Kroger, Kentucky Speedway, Cincinnati Zoo, B105, Coca Cola Consolidated Bottling Company, Cincinnati Museum Center, Delta Airlines, TQL, Cincinnati Manheim, Marsh McLennan, Columbus Blue Jackets, WCOL, Columbus Zoo, Gordon Biersch, Chase Bank and more we hosted many different fundraising events and provided support to our military.
• Through our grant request program, we fulfilled almost 70 grant requests for units across our GSA totaling almost $20,000, which helped support almost 18,000 service members and their families. That’s more than we have ever fulfilled in the past, on a smaller budget!
• With the help of Kroger, we were able to feed over 200 sailors at the Cincinnati NOSC. Just a couple of days later, we feed about 50 Marines at the same NOSC.
• The last thing we got to do, on December 22, was to partner with Cincinnati Fire Department, to deliver Santa on a fire truck with a bunch of toys to two children whose daddy was deployed to Kuwait. The mother of the two children was so grateful for what we did for her children. Fortunately dad was able to Skype with us while we were there with Santa. It was a great way to start the Holiday season. https://www.facebook.com/Cincinnati.Fire.Department/videos/1483748141694955/
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