Industry answers the call of the USO
- By Elaine Rogers
- Oct 11, 2011
On Friday, Oct. 28, as part of our annual Stars & Stripes Casino Night, the USO of Metropolitan Washington (USO-Metro) will honor our 2011 Circle of Stars – our largest corporate sponsors, whose financial support enables us to provide much-needed services for our military service members and their families.
The list is impressive – truly a who’s who of defense and government contractors, along with leading companies from a variety of industries – and we are honored and humbled that these outstanding corporations choose to support USO-Metro’s mission. We couldn’t provide the extensive quality services we deliver to our service members without this crucial support.
The last few years have been more challenging for charities from several perspectives: while the needs of those we serve have grown significantly, many firms have cut back on the monies they allocate for charities because of economic pressures. As many are, we are learning to do more with less and fortunately we have phenomenal volunteers – 5,000 of them – who ensure our service members and their families are well served through an incredible variety of programs. The programs vary from job fairs to boot camps for kids, to our extensive hospital services for our wounded warriors and their caregivers.
Each year, our efforts touch the lives of more than 500,000 service members, through our airport services, the programs we provide through the hospitals, and our efforts on military bases around the Washington Metropolitan Area.
And this need is growing as we prepare for the many service members who will return home from overseas as a result of President Barack Obama's recent announcement that 33,000 troops will return home from Afghanistan over the next year. The Metropolitan Washington area is home to one of the largest military populations in the world. They are our neighbors; their spouses are our teachers, colleagues and business owners. As a community we will celebrate many homecomings – opportunities to express our gratitude to our troops and their family members for the decade they have spent at war on our behalf.
As military families ready for the return of a loved one, USO-Metro will be there to support them through what can sometimes be a difficult transition. The USO’s role is to lift the spirits of our military and their families and do the little things to boost morale and let them know they are supported and appreciated.
We need your help to do that.
Celebrating its 70th year, the USO is the way for the local communities – you – to support the troops and their families. Throughout its history, the USO has developed new and innovative programs to meet the ever-changing needs of service members and their families while holding true to its original mission.
With state-of-the-art facilities and simple acts of kindness, the USO is a home away from home for those who sacrifice to ensure our freedom and security. None of these programs could exist without the financial foundation provided by our phenomenal Board Members and corporate donors.
We hope you’ll join us on Oct. 28 to honor these outstanding companies, who lead by example – providing needed funding as well as their time, energy, expertise and passion.
If you find you’d like to join this impressive lineup, we’d love to welcome you to our elite list of USO-Metro supporters.
To learn more about sponsorship opportunities or to buy tickets for Casino Night, please email me at Elaine@usometro.org, or call 703-696-3103.
We’d love to see you there.
Today, USO-Metro is the largest USO affiliate in the world. With ten locations and a "deployable" Mobile USO, USO-Metro provides signature USO services across the greater metropolitan Washington, D.C. and Baltimore region where more than 300,000 troops and their families reside. Under Ms. Rogers' leadership, USO-Metro has increased the scope and depth of the programs it provides to active duty military and their families, as well as wounded, ill and injured service members and their caregivers.
USO-Metro services have grown exponentially with Rogers' leadership. The organization focuses on needs-based programs and services which include emergency housing, food assistance, therapeutic and morale-building programs at area military hospitals, a ticket distribution, six recreational family centers, and four airport lounges that cater to the 150,000 traveling through our airport lounges every year. USO-Metro is also responsible for Operation USO Care Package, a worldwide program that has successfully delivered more than two million care packages to deployed and deploying troops.
Recently, in partnership with USO, Inc., USO-Metro opened the largest USO center in the world. At 25,000 square feet, the USO Warrior and Family Center at Fort Belvoir is a state-of-the-art facility that includes a large community room, classroom, music and art rooms, sports lounge, multimedia rooms and a commercial grade kitchen. The grounds also feature beautiful healing gardens, a grill terrace and a fitness trail. A similar facility on NSA Bethesda provides 16,000 square feet of space optimized for relaxation and rejuvenation for recovering service members and their caregivers receiving care at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
Throughout her tenure, Ms. Rogers has worked to grow private and corporate annual donations from an annual budget of $100,000 to over $14 million in cash, goods and services. She has successfully developed the volunteer roster from 50 to more than 1,200 caring local citizens. This dedicated volunteer corps, along with meticulous, program-focused management continues to ensure that 89 cents out of every dollar donated goes directly to programs and services.
For her tireless dedication to members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families, Ms. Rogers has been recognized by the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force with service awards and medals. She has also been honored by the Secretary of Defense with the Outstanding Civilian Service Medal and by the Military District of Washington with the Doctor Mary E. Walker Award. In addition, Ms. Rogers received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Maryland Freestate ChallenNGe Academy, Maryland National Guard. She has also received the Distinguished Civilian Award from the Union League of Philadelphia.
A native of Harrisburg, PA, Ms. Rogers earned her degree from Catawba College in Salisbury, North Carolina. Following college, she embarked upon a lifelong career in social services, working with organizations such as the Red Cross and the Pennsylvania Department of Social Services. She is also a member of the Board of Directors for the National Guard Youth Foundation.
Elaine Rogers began her work at the USO of Metropolitan Washington (USO-Metro) in 1976. She quickly proved herself and became president in 1977. In the three decades since, USO-Metro has grown to serve as a model for a charity changing with the times while staying true to its mission.