The USO of North Carolina’s support for our nation’s service members is made possible with the help of nearly 800 volunteers. April 15-21 is National Volunteer Week, and a time to recognize the generosity of community members like USO of North Carolina Sandhills Area volunteer, Sara Ballard.
Sara Ballard is no stranger to military life. Ballard enlisted in the Army in 1976 as part of the Women’s Army Corps and served for six years. Ballard also stood alongside her family members as they served, as a military spouse, blue star mother and even the daughter of a Korean War veteran. Her connection to the military in these ways brings great meaning to her volunteer work.
Ballard is committed to strengthening those who serve in her footsteps with a fierce passion. In just one year, she volunteered for more than 700 hours and received the President’s Volunteer Service Gold Award for that support.
Ballard volunteers at many USO of North Carolina events, but when she’s volunteering at the USO of North Carolina Fort Bragg center, she spends her days “cutting cake and pie and making coffee.” But she’ll also tell you that volunteering with the USO of North Carolina is much bigger than that, and makes a real impact. She urges others to volunteer and does so as often as she can in order to give back to our service members.
As a veteran herself, volunteering with the USO of North Carolina and interacting with today’s service members means a lot to her. She reflects on her time serving in the Army Women’s Corp and remembers the USO support she received while traveling, and how the USO was always very helpful to her and the many family members she has who have also been military service members.
“If I ever retire and I have time on my hands, I’m going to do that because 1. It’s fun, 2. They do so much to me and 3. I’m a consumer and I wanted the opportunity to do that for someone else,” said Ballard when she was asked what inspired her to volunteer.
When asked what she would say to someone who is considering volunteering for the USO of NC, Ballard said, “Please do, don’t hesitate. [Service members] need you and we need them. Let’s do our part.”
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