Programs like United Through Reading’s Military Program, which enables troops to record a DVD of them reading a book for their family to enjoy while they are deployed, help to bring smiles to troops and families. Deployment and redeployment support is also available to help servicemen and women as they adjust to the duty ahead, as well as passenger terminal assistance and comfort support for troops and loved ones alike.
USO Houston offers the following programs and services for troops and military families:
USO Centers. Elite, military-only lounges in Bush Intercontinental and
Hobby Airports and the Ellington Field JRB Welcome Center that cater to
troops and military family members, providing a ‘touch of home’
atmosphere where we convey the public’s appreciation for our military.
Amenities include free wireless Internet and computer access, video
gaming rooms, kitchens, TVs, lounge chairs, reading rooms, and
designated play areas for children. USO volunteers are on-hand to assist
with travel arrangements and information on local services and programs
offered by the surrounding military support community.
United Through Reading®. The hardest hit members of a military family are often the youngest. Day-to-day life without a parent can be sad and confusing. So imagine the thrill on a child’s face when he or she sees and hears a bedtime story read by mom or dad. The USO partnership with United Through Reading® allows our deployed troops the ability to read their kids a bedtime book and virtually be there, even when they can’t be there in-person. Servicemen and women simply read a book aloud while being recorded on DVD for their child.
United Through Reading®, a California-based nonprofit organization, has served over one million beneficiaries since1990. Since partnering with the USO in 2006, more than 100,000 books have been read at USOs worldwide, recorded, and enjoyed by families.
This service is available at USO Houston’s three locations, by appointment. The DVD and book are mailed to the child and family back home. All recording equipment, books, packing and shipping materials are supplied by the USO.
Morale & Camaraderie Events. USO Houston helps to lift the spirits of local troops and military families by supporting a variety of events. We work will military commands, Family Readiness Group leaders, and community outreach officers to allocate USO resources to enhance events.
Family / Organizational Days. USO Houston regularly supports the organizational days of local military units, providing donated food, games, and entertainment resources. Ask us how we can enhance your next event!
USO Beach Bashes. USO Houston hosts “beach bashes” each summer, enabling local units, family readiness groups, or families of the fallen to enjoy a low-key day of camaraderie on Galveston Island. We provide lunch for up to 100 people, beach toys, free parking, and access to the quiet West Island beachfront. In 2013, we hosted a a local recruiting command for a day of family camaraderie, a Coast Guard cutter crew for a pre-deployment event, the families of deployed Army aviators, the children of local Army National Guardsmen for a back-to-school event, local Marines and their families for a morale day, and local Families of the Fallen. We only do six of these a summer, so book for 2014 quickly! [Check out USO Beach Bash photos here.]
Deployment/Homecoming Events. The USO can enhance a deployment or homecoming event with volunteer and community support, funding, and family resources.
Operation USO Care Package.* Anyone who's ever been away from home for long periods of time can relate to the excitement and joy of receiving a Care Package. And the USO takes great pride in extending that touch of home to troops deployed overseas. It creates an instant connection between the troops, home and the citizens they serve. The USO receives thank you notes from troops all over the world recounting the morale boost a Care Package provides. Care package items are purchased directly from or donated by the manufacturer and packed in the Washington, D.C. area. Monetary donations are used to purchase these items. The USO works closely with the Department of Defense to distribute packages. USO Houston staff can coordinate USO Care Packages to be sent to locally-based deployed troops.
Mobile Entertainment Gaming Systems (MEGS).* MEGS bring a touch of home to our men and women in uniform in the most desolate forward operating bases (FOBs) in Afghanistan and other locations in Southwest Asia. MEGS is a portable, self-contained and highly durable multimedia platform created to give our troops endless hours of fun and relaxation. With the ability to be set up and broken down in minutes, MEGS can be delivered to forward operating bases, ships at sea or to stateside installations. Built to accommodate four players simultaneously, each MEGS supports the Xbox® 360, Sony Playstation® 3 and the Nintendo® Wii™. MEGS systems come with all the necessary adapters, cables and routers, for easy set up for service men and women. To order MEGS, visit http://www.uso.org/megs.aspx
USO2GO.* USO2GO delivers the USO’s most popular services to troops in remote and restricted areas. Everything from beanbag chairs, snacks, coffee, and toiletries to phone cards, DVDs, XBox®360, PlayStation® 3, and Nintendo's Wii™. Also available are laptops, musical instruments, art supplies, footballs, Frisbees and horseshoes. Developed with feedback from deployed troops, units can select eight different packages sent to troops stationed at Forward Operating Bases (FOBs). More than 400 USO2GO’s have been delivered to Iraq and Afghanistan since the inception of the program. Learn more at http://www.uso.org/uso2go.aspx.
* Inquire with USO Houston staff for further details.