ARLINGTON, Va., Jan. 26, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- On Feb. 4, 2021, the United Service Organizations (USO) will celebrate 80 years of strengthening America's military service members by connecting them to family, home and country, throughout their service to the nation.
The USO has adapted to the evolving needs of the military since its founding in 1941. What began as six civilian organizations pooling their resources to entertain the troops during World War II has transformed into a community-driven nonprofit that continues to reinvent itself and find innovative ways to respond to service members' emergent needs. Wherever members of the military are deployed—on the front lines overseas or on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic response at home—the USO stands by our heroes in uniform.
"The Armed Forces are the backbone of our nation," said J.D. Crouch II, USO CEO and president. "We are honored to have such a rich history serving America's military community. The sacrifice of service members and their families requires that we rise to the challenge as we have done for the past 80 years and will continue to do for years to come."
Generations of Americans have answered the call to step up, serve and sacrifice. The USO has been a constant, unwavering force throughout the decades so that service members stay strong and their families can continue to thrive. From providing morale-boosting entertainment to delivering millions of care packages, the USO has been a resource for more than 40 million individuals.
Select examples of the USO's innovation in support of service members and their families include:
Virtual Entertainment and Gaming: In response to COVID-19, the USO has quickly pivoted to help service members and their families navigate new challenges. For those facing prolonged periods of isolation due to quarantines, the USO's Military Virtual Programming (MVP) and gaming initiatives offer not only a reprieve from the stress of daily life but also the chance to connect with celebrities and other members of the global military community.
Career Transitions Services: More than 200,000 service members transition to civilian life each year. The USO offers a variety of educational and training sessions to help them apply existing talents to the civilian world.
Military Spouse Networking Opportunities: To help military spouses stay connected and build friendships, the USO hosts virtual and socially distanced Coffee Connections sessions. These networking opportunities have offered military spouses a safe space to share the joys and challenges of military life.
Bob Hope Legacy Reading Program: With the generous support of the Bob Hope Legacy, the USO has helped service members stay connected to their children during deployments. Military parents are invited to record themselves reading a book, which is then sent home and used to nurture parent-child relationships, no matter the physical distance between them.
Programs and services like these are possible thanks to the many individuals and companies who have stepped up to support men and women in uniform. With their help, the USO has been able to continue supporting military members through its global network of 250-plus locations, including airport lounges, mobile units, expeditionary efforts and more.
In an effort to continue fostering a resilient military, the USO invites Americans to join the Force Behind the Forces® and Give More Than Thanks to service members around the world.
Americans can make a difference in the military community by actively expressing their gratitude for our nation's service members and their sacrifices through donations, sponsorship, volunteering, sharing USO stories online, providing in-kind items or participating in USO activities.
To learn more about ways to give more than thanks, visit https://www.uso.org/campaign/morethanthanks. Follow the USO's Give More Than Thanks campaign and be part of the conversation using the hashtag #morethanthanks.
About the USO: The USO strengthens America's military service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country, throughout their service to the nation. At hundreds of locations worldwide, we are united in our commitment to connect our service members and their families through countless acts of caring, comfort and support. The USO is a private nonprofit organization, not a government agency. Our programs, services and entertainment tours are made possible by the American people, support of our corporate partners and the dedication of our volunteers and staff. To join us in this important mission and learn more about the USO, please visit USO.org or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.