ELIZABETHTOWN — The Elizabethtown Rotary Club made a donation to the USO of North Carolina on Wednesday. The group conducted an 8K event on Veteran’s Day to show their support of the USO of North Carolina and the veterans who are members of the club.
Rotarian Eddie Madden presented the donation to Sandhills Area Director Renee Lane and Sandhills Area Assistant Director Brian Knight.
Lane and Knight both addressed the group about the activities of the USO of North Carolina. Lane briefly introduced Knight to the group. Knight recently returned from a tour of duty in Iraq and retired as a Command Sergeant Major on Monday and subsequently joined the USO of North Carolina.
“We have three busy centers serving over 12,000 service members a month and their families,” said Lane.
She noted there are activities for service members and their families at the service centers and outside of the service centers. Lane said there are also many fundraisers the USO of North Carolina supports.
Knight said, “We are very, very busy.”
He noted there are three USO centers in the Fayetteville region. He said the Soldiers’ Support Center sees about 300 to 500 soldiers per day. Knight said the USO of North Carolina operates a center at the Fayetteville Regional Airport and Monday through Thursday a team cooks meals for the wounded warriors.
“Your support of the USO allows us to keep doing that,” said Knight. “While I was in Iraq, it was too easy to pick up the phone or shoot an email to the USO and say ‘Here is what the soldiers need. What can you do for us?’”
Knight said the USO would ship a container filled with the items the soldiers were requesting.
He said soldiers often ask him what its like to be part of the USO. Knight said his response is that it is “like winning every day.”
For example, a few weeks ago, the USO of North Carolina gave away 500 Delta Children’s Cribs to expectant mothers. Recently, the USO assisted with meals for a training exercise. Knight said the 18th Airborne Corps did a four week training exercise in conjunction with their British counterparts. Knight said the soldiers had been eating traditional MREs (meals ready to eat) while training. He said the USO of North Carolina prepared more than 2,000 hot dogs over a two day period to feed the soldiers lunch and give them a taste of something different during their training.
The Rotary Club also recognized the veterans who are members of the group.