When tragedy befalls a serviceman or woman, the worlds of many come to a halt. As lives of loved ones are turned upside down, the USO provides a foundation of support to help those touched by loss. Our caring USO staff and volunteers are prepared to provide assistance from our international airports to our centers, giving comfort and guidance. As families mourn, the USO aims to alleviate many of the logistical hurdles with free Internet, computer and telephone access so that families and friends may properly grieve and honor their fallen hero.
USO Houston services for Families of the Fallen include:
Dignified Transfer Escorts. USO volunteers serving at the HOU and IAH USO Centers facilitate the USO’s Families of the Fallen program, escorting family members along the route of the dignified transfer of fallen service members’ remains. Most of the time, families begin their trip to Dover within hours of being notified of their loss. USO staff and volunteers throughout the country work around the clock to ease the burden of families traveling to and from Dover Air Force Base to witness the return of their loved one. The USO works with airline and airport security officials to expedite the check-in process, connects family members arriving from multiple locations and arranges for accommodations if a family's flight is missed or delayed, coordinates with each military branch to link families with ground transportation to and from Dover Air Force Base, supports military escorts who accompany their fallen comrades to their final homecoming, and assists families traveling to and from memorial services when requested.
Camaraderie. Whether it’s a private suite at the Houston Rodeo, a low-key USO Beach Bash, or tickets to a Houston Texans game, the USO understands how important stress-free camaraderie is to our Families of the Fallen. USO Houston organizes discreet, low-key events throughout the year so local families can come together and honor the memories of the fallen while helping one another cope with the loss.
Trevor Romain Foundation’s Memory Box. Each Memory Box is customized to meet a child's specific needs when dealing with the loss of a family member and contains educational and comforting resources. USO Houston has boxes on-hand at all of our Houston-area locations.
TAPS Good Grief Camps and Survivor Seminars.* The Survivor Seminars and Good Grief Camps are two-day events for spouses, parents, adults and children who have lost a family member to combat, line-of-duty accident or suicide. Survivor Seminars provide an opportunity for adult survivors to join together for two days of support, care and hope.
While the adults are attending the Survivor Seminar, surviving children and teens engage in two days of fun activities at the TAPS Good Grief Camp. Good Grief Camps give children and teens the opportunity to learn coping skills, and, like the adults at the Survivor Seminar, the opportunity to establish solid support systems with those in similar circumstances. Good Grief Camps distinguish themselves from other grief camps by incorporating military service members who act as mentors to children of the fallen.
The outcome and impact of these seminars and camps is profound as survivors join together to ‘Remember the Love, Celebrate the Life and Share the Journey.’ Before they part, everyone receives a Survivor Resource Kit. In partnership with the USO, TAPS provides kits to all attendees that contain vital information and special items, giving the attendees personal resources to take home and use as a reference. Together, USO and TAPS send these kits to all surviving families who have lost a loved one through combat-related deaths, line-of-duty accidents or suicide.
Expanding the USO and TAPS partnership, USO and TAPS will begin hosting overnight camps for surviving children and teens this year called USO/TAPS Kids Camp Outs.
* Inquire with USO Houston for further information about TAPS Good Grief and Survivor Seminars.