By: Kylen Mills
The Rock Island Arsenal adds a “home away from home” to their facilities today.
The USO Rock Island Center is opening a 2000 square foot space for active duty and their families to relax.
The lounge type space offers snacks, cable TV, videogames, a computer lab with Wifi, books and board games.
Director Jackie Insman says there was no recreation space like this on the arsenal. All she had was a small USO office, but that just wasn’t enough to meet the needs of the 800 active service members at the arsenal.
“In my office I had snacks and refreshments and it doesn’t seem like a lot but I had 355 service members come and see me just in my office. So there is a need for a bigger space.”
The plan is to have the center open from 8 to 4:30PM daily to all active service members from the base and surrounding areas. There is an open house today from 12:00pm to 5:30pm.
Each season, the USO Illinois honors military veterans by giving them a moment on the field at the home games of the Chicago Bears and the Blackhawks. This year that tradition continues and expands as we partner with Boeing and the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic to create an avenue for active and retired military and their families, sports fans and civilians who are not in attendance at the game to share their support for U.S. armed forces personnel. Throughout the campaign, supporters can share their personal tribute by sending a message of gratitude and posting a salute – a simple gesture of thanks – at our Facebook page.
To highlight the importance of these salutes, we will share several videos that showcase the heart felt wishes of ordinary civilians and first-person reflections from veterans who give their personal thanks to those who serve as well as their own unique perspectives on the meaning of service to one’s country. All videos will be shared in the days leading up to Veterans Day on Nov. 11.
Be sure to check our Facebook page to see photos from Chicagoans those who care. Share and download the videos and let our servicemen and women know that you are their biggest fans!
YOU CAN OWN THE ORIGINAL SCORE TO THE VIDEOS!
We Support the Troops
Home & Away
Orignal Score composed by Orbert Davis,
Performed by Orbert Davis’ Chicago Jazz Philharmonic
Chicago jazz musician and Emmy Award-winning composer, Orbert Davis, and his 55-piece jazz symphonic orchestra, Chicago Jazz Philharmonic, present this 4-track EP “Home and Away” in celebration of our veterans and active-duty servicemen and women.
The music will be available for purchase and download on CDbaby.com, the iTunes store and at www.chijazzphil.org/homeandaway. It will also be made available through the Boeing Store. Proceeds from every purchase will go to support America’s troops and their families through the USO of Illinois.
TRACEY MYERS, Blackhawks Insider
Blackhawks president John McDonough was aware of where he could’ve been on Saturday night, when he was honored at the USO of Illinois Star-Spangled Salute.
“I thought tonight, with our Blackhawks schedule, it might be a bit of a conflict. Right now, probably be toward the end of the first period,” McDonough told the audience on the night the Blackhawks were supposed to open their 2012-13 season against the Columbus Blue Jackets. “But I’m certainly standing in a very enviable position.”
McDonough was presented the USA Salute to Leadership Award at this year’s Salute, which was held at the Navy Pier’s grand ballroom. The award is given to a civic or community leader in special recognition for his or her distinguished personal and professional efforts in the support of the U.S. Armed Forces. The Blackhawks have done much to honor the military, including honoring one active duty military member and one retired service member during the national anthem.
“It’s great recognition for the Blackhawks,” McDonough said prior to the ceremony. “Every night, 21,000 people stand and applaud, and they, the players and the coaches recognize what (the military’s) contributions have been. It’s very heartwarming. It’s become a trend across the league. But at the United Center, with everybody from the start of the game with the national anthem, it’s a very huge part of our game presentation and very, very meaningful.”
McDonough was humbled by the evening.
“I’m surrounded by heroes and leaders tonight that are far more deserving than I,” he told the audience. “The freedom we enjoy is not an entitlement, but a commitment from our armed forces. Every night in the United Cente, we’re guaranteed at least one heartfelt standing ovation. It’s not necessarily for a brilliant save or an overtime goal. (It’s) the appreciation of 21,000 people, including every member of both teams, acknowledging the presence of greatness and true dedication to our military.”
White Sox players Jesse Crain and Matt Thornton have lunch with members of the military at U.S. Cellular Field.
The USO (United Service Organizations) of Illinois is brought the USO Carnival to the Rock Island Arsenal on July 7th as part of the 150th Anniversary Celebration of the Arsenal. Sponsored by PepsiCo, the USO Carnival brought Quad Cities military and civilian families together in support of the U.S. Armed Forces and the Arsenal.
The USO of Illinois partnered with The Eaglewood Resort and Spa in Itasca, to launch the “How Do I Love Thee?,” Valentine’s Day Getaway Contest. Military were asked to profess their love to their significant other in video format to win a two night stay at the award winning Eaglewood Resort and Spa February 17th thru February 19th, breakfast during their stay and a Romantic Carriage Ride. View the winning entries here!
We had so much fun making Daddy this Valentine’s Day video. For just turning 2 years old, Juliana (we call her JuBo) gives mommy quite the interview about their love story!
For this very special holiday build, the Craftsman Experience welcomes the good folks from Operation Support Our Troops, USO of Illinois, Katy’s Goodness, and Boy Scout Troop 181 to the studio.
Chicago Bears fans give a special shout out to the troops at the Veterans Day weekend game at Soldier Field.