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USO serves record number of troops

Post by Scott Fontaine on March 5, 2010 at 10:03 am with No Comments »
March 5, 2010 10:03 am
Herb Schmeling, with the USO at McChord Air Force Base, fills a pastry case at the USO center as a reserve unit waits for a flight to Kuwait. (Joe Barrentine/The News Tribune)

Last year was a busy year for the area’s military population: The Washington National Guard’s 81st Brigade Combat Team was in Iraq during the first half of the year, and 18,000 troops from Fort Lewis deployed to the Middle East or Afghanistan. Airmen from McChord served across the world on deployments.

So it’s perhaps no surprise – yet no less laudable – that the USO Puget Sound Area announced yesterday is served a record number of troops during 2009: more than 439,000 people.

It’s the second consecutive year the nonprofit helping service members and their families has set a record. Volunteers work at Sea-Tac Airport, McChord Field and elsewhere throughout the state.

“Last year was record-setting on many levels,” board chairman Tom Jaffa said in a press relase. “Our military members and their families have been called to unprecedented levels of service. The dedication from USOPSA staff and volunteers is what makes this organization work around-the-clock to provide the comforts of home and support.”

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