“That’s so cool.”
Those words, uttered by a Marine who got stuck at Denver International Airport on his way to a deployment in Japan, were a simple but powerful conveyance of his gratitude to a volunteer with the United Service Organizations (USO). A volunteer who not only helped to make sure he reached his destination, but asked him to email her when he got there. Countless military men and women and their families have similar stories of the selfless acts of the volunteers of the USO.
The USO came into being in 1941 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked faith-based and other groups to help boost military members’ morale. What began with the familiar “USO Shows” (which brought the likes of Fred Astaire, Lauren Bacall, and Lucille Ball to entertain soldiers in Europe and Asia during the Second World War) has become so much more than providing celebrities to entertain soldiers in war zones. The volunteer-powered nonprofit now operates USO Centers across the country and across the world to help make the lives of servicemen and women better.
The USO Center at DIA, one of the country’s busiest airports, is especially suited to cater to the needs of service members and their families since so many of them pass through Denver on the way to and from active duty. Whether it’s grabbing a snack, watching TV, or (the most popular amenity) using the free WIFI, troops can find respite when they travel.
The DIA Center does more than just provide a place for weary travelers in uniform. They host events like “Stuff the Truck”—where an Army National Guard Humvee gets filled with donations to support the troops.
Colorado PERA is proud to sponsor an annual Veterans Day celebration to provide the proper time to honor those who have served our country. This year, PERA will be raising money for the USO, and we couldn’t be more proud to do our small part to support such a fantastic organization. Every man and woman in the US military deserve our never-ending respect and gratitude for the jobs they do—and for risking their lives to ensure our rights and freedoms.
If you’d like to join us in supporting the USO’s mission, please visit their donation page, or find other ways to get involved by volunteering to make even one soldier, sailor, marine, or airman’s life a little bit better. It’s the least we can do to say thank you, and who knows, maybe you’ll be the one saying “that’s so cool”.