Those of us who are celebrating a birthday following COVID-19 know that this year’s birthday “fun” factor may not meet our expectations this time around. The usual big surprise party, cookout with friends and family, or dinner at your favorite restaurant may not be an option for some. COVID-19 has triggered significant lifestyle changes and new processes for individuals and organizations alike.
The USO of NC has transitioned most events and programs strictly to online delivery to protect the health of our service members, staff, and volunteers. The USO’s mission of connecting service members to family, home, and country is still in motion and we are proud to support our service members and their families during these times in traditional and innovative ways.
Due to COVID-19 safety precautions, some of our programs were placed on hold. However, we are happy to announce the return of one of the USO of NC’s most popular programs The Single Service Military Birthday Cake Program
On July 9, 2020, our staff received an email from Linda Cline Bobiles regarding the upcoming birthday of her son Hospital Corpsman (HM) Jacob Bobiles, from Lincolnwood, Ill., who is currently assigned the to Family Medicine Clinic at the Camp Lejeune Naval Hospital.
Linda expressed to our team that she had read about the USO Birthday Cake Program and was curious to see if this program was still operational given social distancing and COVID-19 protocols. We assured her that the USO’s support to service members and their families remain active and ready.
After receiving Linda’s message, the USO of NC Communications team immediately contacted the Operations team in the Coastal Area (Jacksonville, NC) to plan and execute a birthday cake surprise! Linda was thrilled to hear that her son would not go without a proper birthday celebration on his big day.
This was Jacob’s first year away from family and friends back home, but we did not let that stop him from receiving a birthday gift from his family and the USO of NC. We assembled a small team (while adhering to strict social distancing and proper face protection) and met at Jacob’s place of work at the Camp Lejeune Naval Hospital. Due to the health and safety surrounding the hospital we were able to safely navigate three USO staff members into a break room where we would hand off the cake. We were joined by four of Jacob’s fellow sailors and coworkers who accompanied us as we sang and delivered him a USO cake in his favorite flavor, chocolate!
“I was pretty surprised; I did not expect this it all!” said HM Jacob Bobiles. “Celebrating away from home feels like any other workday to me, but now a bit different that I have a cake, I really appreciate you all [the USO] doing this for me”
“The USO of NC is very proud of Jacob’s dedication and commitment to his fellow service members and their families as he works tirelessly to care for their medical needs as a front-line hero at the Camp Lejeune Family Medicine Clinic. Assisting his mother Linda in celebrating Jacob on his birthday, brightening his day and connecting him to his home and family is what we do,” added Barry Morris, USO of NC Communications Director.
The USO is honored to offer programs and initiatives that connect our service members to family, home, and country. Remember to follow USO of North Carolina, on all social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube) to view a list of our upcoming virtual events and webinars.
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