COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX) — As the school year comes to an end and the Memorial Day weekend arrives, Central Ohio is gearing up for summer vacation. USO Ohio is gearing up for one of the busiest times of the year.
Not only will more recruits begin their military careers, with stops at the USO on their way to basic training, but there are also more service members traveling, as well as special events planned by USO Ohio.
“May is the month that our Ohio Military seem to really start to wake up,” said Sue Ann Carroll, Center Operations Program Manager for USO Ohio. “Ohio is among the top five in the nation in the number of National Guard and Reserve service members, so that means annual trainings start, plans for Family Day events begin, the weather is getting nicer, so we (USO Ohio) start planning more programs for our military and their families.”
It's a year-round operation of keeping our service members connected to family, home, and country. That’s the mission of the USO.
“We do that by offering a variety of USO Core programs, by responding to the unique needs of the military right here in Ohio,” Carroll said. “We support them no matter what stage of training or deployment their unit might be in to help keep them connected. We do our best to keep them smiling and their families as well.”
USO Ohio has locations across the state, but here locally in Central Ohio, you’ll find centers at both the Columbus Military Entrance Processing Station and John Glenn International Airport. There is no cost for service members and their families to access the USO. The support offered happens through volunteers, community support, and donations.
If you’d like to donate snacks to USO Ohio, here is a list of items that would be helpful:
Travel-sized personal hygiene items also are accepted. If you would like to donate, you can drop off items at the USO Ohio inside John Glenn or reach out to arrange a drop-off with Melissa Tobin, USO Ohio Center Operations Supervisor
You can also donate or learn how to volunteer here.
It’s all part of showing thanks to our service members and their families, especially during the month of May, which is Military Appreciation Month.
“The work of the USO is America’s most powerful expression of gratitude to those who secure our nation’s freedoms,” USO Midwest Region President Alison Ruble told ABC 6 in a previous interview. “Right now, thousands of our service members are selflessly risking their own safety to protect ours. There are currently more than 100,000 American service members either deployed or permanently stationed in Europe in support of our NATO allies and Ukraine. These service members and their families will spend the holidays far away from the ones they love. You can express your gratitude for their sacrifices with a donation to the USO.”