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USO Northwest offers unique services

USO Northwest sponsored Race For a Soldier this fall. Photo credit:

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Connections are fulfilling, and the United Service Organizations Northwest strengthens America's servicemembers by keeping them connected to family, home and country.

A nonprofit, congressionally chartered, private organization, the USO Northwest relies on the generosity of individuals, organizations, foundations and corporations to support its work.

The USO Northwest continues to support America's military servicemembers and their families throughout Washington State and Oregon.

"For over 75 years, the USO has been the nation's leading organization to serve the men and women in the U.S. military," wrote Tim Bogle, USO Northwest's director of development and marketing, in an email.

With the help of over 600 volunteers, USO Northwest annually serves over 750,000 military members and their families.

"The USO strengthens America's military servicemembers by keeping them connected throughout their service to the nation."

Among the numerous ways in which the USO Northwest serves military members and families, its Helping Hands program stands out.

Offered by no other USO facility, Helping Hands was established to support the need for military families to spend time together.

Since military units have limited funding available to provide for morale building activities, and since there are regulations prohibiting the military from fundraising or soliciting support, USO Northwest created the Helping Hands program to cover the costs of such activities.

"This program was established to help provide servicemembers and their families the opportunity to spend time together with their families," continued Bogle.

"Welcome home celebrations, pre-deployment parties, family day picnics and tickets to ballgames are just a few examples of the family-focused activities that our Helping Hands program makes possible."

Last year, the program served over 99,000 local military members and their families.

Donations to the Combined Federal Campaign, or CFC, play a vital role in allowing the USO Northwest to continue its work.

"One hundred percent of all contributions made to the USO Northwest through the CFC campaign go directly back to the military through our Helping Hands program," explained Bogle.

The USO Northwest's CFC donation number is 15348.

To serve Joint Base Lewis-McChord's servicemembers and families, the USO Northwest does so through the Shali Center at McChord Field and its two mobile USO canteens.

"USO Northwest is in the final phase of renovating and opening its new Camp Lewis USO Center across the street from Waller Hall," concluded Bogle.

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