The USO Is There For You!

The USO logo.

Half my family is in the middle of a going-home-to-see-family adventure.  Several things haven’t gone quite as planned, and so I find myself unexpectedly in Newark, New Jersey, waiting for two of my children to successfully get off the ground on their way to my families.  When I got here, I asked for directions to the USO.  The information person didn’t know what I was talking about, but after a few more inquiries I discovered that there is no USO here.  I was really sad because the USO has been such a good friend to me over years of travelling around the world.

If you’re not familiar with the USO, or only know about some of their activities, it would be worthwhile to learn about the activities of this group.  It is an amazing, volunteer- and donation-based organization that provides support to military servicemembers and their families all over the world.  The USO offers program specifically targeting transitioning troops, deployed troops, military families, ill or injured troops, and the families of the fallen.

Transitioning Troops

For troops leaving military service, the USO offers education, employment, and community reintegration programs including the Hire Heros USO/USA Workshops, Career Opportunity Days, Purpose Driven Rehab, Rivers of Recovery and the Wyakin Warrior Foundation.  The USO also supports family strengthening programs.

Deployed Troops

If you’ve been deployed to a challenging location, chances are you’ve benefitted from some USO programs.  Current and recent offerings include:

Military Families

The USO supports families in so many ways.  From their United Through Reading program, that allows a deployed parents to make a video of themselves reading to their children, to new spouse orientation programs offered at selected bases, the USO is there to support military families.  As I said in the beginning, their airport locations have provided me with a safe place to rest (what a blessing when travelling with small ones), cold drinks, and a place to put my luggage while waiting.  I love the USO airport locations!   Other programs include:

Ill and Injured Troops

For troops that are ill or injured, the USO offers behavioral health, recreation, family strengthening, education, and employment programs.

Families of the Fallen

Families of fallen servicemembers are eligible for most of the USO’s other programs.  In addition, the USO helps facilitate emergency travel for the families of fallen troops and has worked to strengthen the services and facilities available for families who meet their fallen heroes at Dover Air Force Base.   Once they’ve returned home, the USO continues their support with assistance programs and summer camps for kids.

There is really much more to the USO than I could possibly fit in a post here at The Paycheck Chronicles.  Take five minutes and look through their website to learn more about the ways that the USO can help your family.

For now, I’m thankful that I could tell my kids, “If you get stuck, there is a USO in the airport.”  Thank you, USO, for caring for us all!

About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell is a military financial coach, mom of four teens, and Navy spouse. She has a background in taxes and mortgage banking, and a trove of experience helping other military families with their money. Follow her on twitter @realKateHorrell.