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    The USO Goes Where You Go

    The USO Goes Where You Go

    Photo By Spc. Salome Denoon | Elizabeth Hazelett, Programs and Operations Manager at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin on...... read more read more



    Story by Spc. Salome Denoon 

    326th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

    FORT MCCOY, WI. – Starting the day with a hot cup of coffee is usual for most. Enjoying a cold water bottle, a flavorful drink, or a snack would not be considered a luxury. However, soldiers experiencing adverse conditions on the training ground of Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, might.

    Fort McCoy is the largest military installation in Wisconsin and represents all branches of the military. On post sits the United Service Organization, the only one of its kind, offering a mobile van that delivers cold flavored drinks, bottled water, and personal hygiene products to all service members in the field. The USO also provides a mobile hotspot vehicle or "Starbucks on wheels," as the Senior Operations and Program Manager, Elizabeth Hazlett, calls it.

    After a surprise visit from her son in 2009, who had recently graduated from the Coast guard, went awry, causing him to sleep at the airport, prompting her to learn that the Milwaukee airport needed volunteers for its newly built USO, Hazlett decided to become a volunteer. This decision led to her serving twelve years.

    "The excitement comes when we can fix something as easy as a hot cup of coffee when it's 20 degrees or an ice-cold bottle of water when it is 90. You don't realize how much that changes someone's life." Hazlett gushed. "It sounds goofy to say that a hot cup of coffee or a bottle of water will make that much of a difference; it does,” She continued. "It's not just a cup of coffee or a bottle of water that a volunteer is handing; it's the hand, the hand, of the USO, going "hey, let me give you some support, I appreciate what you're doing."

    What volunteers find attractive about the USO in Fort Mccoy is the first-hand experience of watching service members train. It enables them to be empathetic to what soldiers endure in the fields. The encounter aids in helping to develop morale-boosting activities.

    "When we're standing with the soldiers in the cold or heat, they usually ask why we do this. If soldiers are willing to do this for my freedom,” Hazlett said. “I'm ready to stand here and hand them a cup of coffee so they can get it done. We have your back. We have your back no matter where you are."

    When asked of her favorite thing about her job, Hazlett beamed, "All the smiles. You have no idea what it's like to hand somebody a twinkie or a ding-dong after they've been eating an MRE for two weeks. It's just the way that they look that keeps me coming back."



    Date Taken: 08.19.2021
    Date Posted: 08.19.2021 17:40
    Story ID: 403565
    Location: FORT MCCOY , WI, US 

    Web Views: 42
    Downloads: 0