Volunteer Voices: Margaret McKinney

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Margaret McKinney poses with a family friend passing through the USO of NC Charlotte Center.

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Margaret McKinney helps a young Marine recruit steam his wrinkly uniform.

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Margaret McKinney takes a break from serving Army recruits at Operation Exodus for a picture with her fellow volunteers.

To say that USO of North Carolina Piedmont Area volunteer, Margaret McKinney, is military connected is an understatement. McKinney’s family connections to service are seldom matched. On the Navy side, her father and brother served as hospital corpsman and her nephews followed in their footsteps as Sailors. Her twin brother served in the Army, and to top it all off, her husband and son-in-law both served in the Marine Corps.

Seeing so many members of her family serve inspired her to volunteer with the USO of North Carolina when she moved to North Carolina from Atlanta, GA. Today, she volunteers at the USO of North Carolina Charlotte Center, located within the Charlotte Douglas International Airport, every Tuesday from 12:00 - 3:00 p.m.

“There’s not been a day that I have ever regretted going to that center,” said McKinney.

During her regular volunteer shifts, McKinney enjoys working behind the scenes cleaning up and preparing food for service members and families that pass through the center. One of her favorite moments working at the center was when a Marine recruit and admirals son needed help with a wrinkly uniform. McKinney remembers “he wanted an iron, and I said ‘you can’t iron this uniform!’”

Luckily, she was able to come to the rescue with the center’s steamer. “I wonder where that young guy is now,” said McKinney.

McKinney also assists with yearly events hosted by the USO of NC to include the annual Traditions of Honor Golf Tournament and Operation Exodus, a special event during which thousands of Army basic trainees pass through the airport on their way home for the holidays.

In addition to those roles, McKinney also supports the USO of North Carolina Honors Support Team, escorting and helping families of the fallen as their service member returns home for the last time.

“It’s not one of the fun things you do, but it’s a way of honoring the people who serve the country,” said McKinney. “I feel very fortunate and privileged to be able to serve on this team.”

Margaret McKinney is one of more than 1,000 volunteers that serve as a Force Behind the Forces. Learn more about how you can join her in support of those who serve by clicking here.

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