11 Years as the Force Behind the Forces at Fort Bragg

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USO of North Carolina staff and volunteers cut a cake in honor of the USO of NC Fort Bragg Center's 11th anniversary.

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On June 14, 2010, my very first day working at the USO of North Carolina, I walked into a small center located on the East side of Fort Bragg that was serving less than 1,000 service members a month. The center had just been established two years earlier, and served more as a recreation center to include pool tables, ping pong, a movie room and TVs.

Like many active duty Army spouses, I went through many of life’s difficult moments when my husband deployed, was away for training, or flew helicopters to a safer area when hurricanes pounded Fayetteville. Working to better the lives of our service members and families was the main reason I joined the USO of North Carolina.

Now, nine years later, I’m proud to say that the USO of North Carolina’s reach, programs and overall ability to strengthen our service members to family, home and country has come so far. On July 25, 2019, the USO of North Carolina celebrates 11 years of continuous service to our Fort Bragg and Pope Air Force Base service members and their families.

I’d be telling you a different story if I said that change was easy or took place overnight. It’s taken the support of hundreds of volunteers, countless local and corporate businesses and organizations and individuals like you and me committing both time and treasure to this cause. It’s taken support and generosity of the entire Sandhills community.

As our military has changed and evolved over the years to defend our nation against new threats both foreign and domestic, we’ve been listening, and changing too. With your help, we’ve developed and enhanced our programs and services to address the challenges that come with more than 18 years of continuous war. These innovative programs touch every aspect of a service members’ life – from the moment they enter the military and all the way through their transition to civilian life.

Each day at our center, it’s a hustle and bustle of service members and families coming in to grab a cup of Community Coffee and a snack, or to print documents for military travel, finance, or Permanent Change of Station orders in our Lenovo Technology Lab. Every day, families visit our center at the Fayetteville Airport to rest as they travel or return home from a long trip. Each month, volunteers and community groups are offering a home cooked meal to our service members at the Warrior Transition Battalion as they prepare to return to their units or community. All in all, we’re serving more than 13,000 military connected individuals each month.

On the programmatic side, service members and their families are developing Community Connections through morale lunches and quarterly dinners, as well as Story Time for military children and Coffee Chat programs for spouses.

As we celebrate our 11th anniversary, our Pathfinder program hosted right out of our Fort Bragg center, also approaches its third anniversary. Since its inception in 2017, 950 service members and their spouses have transitioned into rewarding careers with the help of our Pathfinder scouts.

During our 11th year, you can expect to see our Fayetteville Airport center renovated, new programs developed for teenage military family members and more support for expectant military mothers. However, to continue that support, we need your help. Our community must come together to care for those who are bearing the weight of multiple deployments, frequent moves and other challenges that come with military life. Your financial gifts and volunteer hours are more critical than ever before.

Today, we celebrated at our Fort Bragg center with games, snacks and other goodies for our service members, military families and partners – and you know it wouldn’t be a military anniversary without a cake cutting! We hope you’ll join us as a Force Behind the Forces in our 11th year. Learn more about how you can get involved at uso-nc.org.

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