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.
The HOME&AWAY campaign, now in its fourth year, highlights how the USO of Illinois and Boeing are committed to helping service members and their military families thrive. Our nation’s armed forces and their families make many sacrifices to protect our freedoms. While we support their efforts at home and away, we may overlook the opportunity to say thank you, or be able to find a way to make a tangible difference. Join Boeing, in supporting the USO of Illinois and the work they do to help local military and their families.
Vote here for your favorite Home & Away video for your chance to win a VIP Chicago sports experience from Boeing with two of your favorite teams. Help someone you know. Support the USO.
Making Lifelong Connections: The heartwarming story of a soldier reconnecting with a childhood friend while stationed overseas in Japan, and asking for her hand in marriage once returning to Illinois.
From Military Police to Military Mom: After serving in Iraq as a member of the military police, Julie returned home to Illinois where she learned to reconnect with both her family and her community through the help she found at USO Rock Island.
The USO’s 12th Man: Watch pro athlete Charles Tillman recount his experiences growing up as the son of a military sergeant, and his journeys abroad where he lent his support to deployed troops working with 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.
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.
For this Veteran’s Day episode of The Down & Dirty, Frank Fontana welcomes the USO of Illinois to the studio.
Frank helps the USO at Midway Airport in Chicago revamp their space to help better serve our military members. He shows how to build storage cabinets, computer desks and the ultimate bookshelf.
Later in the show, Last Fast Action plays a very special music set for the Down & Dirty audience.