United Services Organizations, Inc.
August 14, 2013
I "used" to be a volunteer at the USO facility at the Norfolk Airport 2011-2012. We had seen what happens when politics ( and I don't mean political party types) takes over and I saw the director get fired, and a bunch of us older senior citizen types either get asked to leave, or told we were not needed any longer. Why? Well, we complained about where the donations where going, and why the center was accepting day old foods to give out to our traveling veterans and their families, while some great organizations were donating $$ to the USO in the form of soft drinks, etc, and we had to beg, borrow or "steal" to get sodas for the visiting troops. Yes, there were personality conflicts, between the new paid director and the volunteers, but, there was an effort to see that the outspoken folks were no longer there to serve the travelers. We were either ex-military, Vietnam vets, retired military, etc. We complained thru normal channels and never heard another word from the CEO at the time (who later suddenly was removed/left his position) So, who lost? Well, as a Vietnam vet who believed in giving back what he didn't get, I was shocked and I know some of the others felt as I did.
Ways to make it better...
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
Let the USO run the program, not a local organization. Seek out more military retirees to volunteer" and let the troops know we understand. Some do it for brownie points within their command, and that's sad. When I cam back from Vietnam, I had no one there to say "welcome home" and I understand your situation. Many of us have been there, but, it's obvious, some of these vets are not welcome because we speak out for the troops, not for the USO and their paid workers
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