USO Delaware salutes volunteers

 

Some Dover Air Force Base active airmen joined several members of the USO as they celebrated the organization’s volunteers and unveiled a new USO trailer at the base on Thursday. (Delaware State News/Mike Finney)

DOVER — USO Delaware took the time to give a little bit of support to its team of nearly 200 volunteers on Thursday, which was kind of ironic considering all of its team is accustomed to lending their support to the military.

This week is Volunteer Week, so USO Delaware wanted to show its fleet of volunteers just how much they are appreciated.

The numerous volunteers were treated to a hot dog feast complete with drinks, chips and cookies at the USO Delaware center, right beside an idle C-17 Globemaster III on the runway at Dover Air Force Base.

As part of USO Delaware’s celebration for its volunteers, the organization also unveiled a new USO trailer which will keep all of its workers out of the elements at the numerous events they attend throughout the year.

“We have about 200 active volunteers and this (trailer) is going to make their life a little bit easier,” said Bruce Kmiec, director of USO Delaware. “We do 50 percent of our events outside in the elements year-round … not just summer, not just spring when it’s fair weather. We do it around the clock, around the calendar.

“This is just taking what we do to the very next level of support for our thousands and thousands of great military personnel that are in Delaware and their families that just deserve to be treated at the next level because of what they do every day for us.”

Steve Masterson, president and CEO of New Castle-based Waste Masters Solutions, and Sean Healy, from Wilmington-based Healy, Long and Jevin Concrete Construction, had their companies team up on the USO’s trailer.

Waste Masters Solutions provided the trailer and the mount and Healy, Long and Jevin finished off the inside and did the electric work.

Mr. Masterson was more than happy to be a part of the project.

“Today is not about a trailer,” he told the crowd. “Today is about celebrating you, all of the people who volunteer for the USO and support our military. For that, we thank you.”

Kay Powers, who lives near Sandtown, is coming up on 21 years as a USO volunteer. She almost seemed embarrassed that others were recognizing her on Thursday.

“I’ve been volunteering for the USO for so long that I can’t even remember life before,” she said. “You meet some fabulous people through the years. My dad was in World War I and my first job was working in the Army.”

Ray Maddock, another long-time USO volunteer, enjoys giving as much time as he can to support the military personnel.

“I was in the Marines and I just enjoy taking care of the troops,” he said. “To me, it’s a great pleasure to do that, along with the families that pass through and so forth.”

Mr. Kmiec said just giving the volunteers a more comfortable environment to work in was a pleasure for the Delaware USO.

“We do ‘going aways’ and ‘homecomings’ (for military personnel), as well as many other events in the community,” said Mr. Kmiec. “We even go to the NASCAR events in Dover.

“We have about a football-field sized military village that we build out there so we have about 60 to 70 service members that we support in the village as well as getting the chance to show the community exactly what we do for the troops.

“And now we have a one-of-a-kind rolling mobile USO.”

He added that it’s a perfect fit for the organization’s one-of-a-kind team of volunteers.

Delaware State News staff writer Mike Finney can be reached at mfinney@newszap.com.

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