Safe – such a small word but one loaded with meaning. To be safe is to be free from hurt, injury, danger or risk. Our troops’ primary focus is to uphold and keep safe our American tenets. Our military families’ primary focus is the safe return of their loved ones so that our service men and women enjoy the rewarding and fulfilling life they so richly deserve.
At the USO, we have a long tradition of “standing by their side” wherever troops are serving — at forward operating bases in a war zone, at military hospitals, in airports or on bases around the world.
Just this week, we officially opened our newest center: the USO Warrior and Family Center at Fort Belvoir, Va. It’s the first of two new USO centers in the United States specifically designed to promote a community of care and provide resources, programs and support to our men and women in uniform, especially our wounded, ill and injured troops as they prepare to return to active duty or transition to the next phase of life.
These new centers will be the largest we’ve ever built but that is not what makes them special. Their mission makes them special. Medical experts tell us that healing happens in places outside an operating suite or rehabilitation facility. Our programs will help troops sustain hope and build confidence in a happy and fulfilling future, keep families together and strong, ensure troops and military families develop a plan for their future and help them build a support network that’s there when progress falters.
These Americans have done their part. Now, as many return to communities across the country and others continue to serve, it’s our turn — all of us — to “stand by their side.”
Supporting the troops has to be more than a slogan. It has to be reflected in action. Jeep® joined the USO’s mission by contributing more than $1 million in funding and vehicles to the USO for use in programs that directly aid service members and family in their efforts to re-acclimate to civilian life.
Jeep Operation SAFE Return (http://youtu.be/FadwTBcvISo) was created to address the special needs of returning service men and women along with their families. The program pays tribute to our service men and women through the USO with:
- Secure Transport: A provision of Jeep brand vehicles to be utilized at USO centers for the transport of troops and supplies
- Aid for Transition: The brand will assist in their reintegration process through a veteran employment initiative as well as an incentive toward the purchase of a Jeep brand vehicle
- Freedom Adventures: Through homecoming celebrations and light-hearted engagements, the Jeep brand will provide a much needed hiatus for our troops
- Enduring Care: Support for the USO continuum of care to assist the wounded, ill and injured troops at the USO Warrior and Family Center at Fort Belvoir, Va.
To encourage volunteerism, Jeep also hosted a day of service at the USO Warrior and Family Center at Fort Belvoir, VA during which its employees provided a night of fun and food for our troops and their families.
Jeep’s Operation SAFE Return invites the public to pay tribute to our troops. Now through May 27, the brand will donate $1 for every person who pledges to join the movement and tweets out their efforts using the hash tag #joinOSR. Through community giving, this program will make a real difference for our troops and their families.
The USO is a private, nonprofit organization, not a government agency. It is through the generous support of corporate partners and individuals that we are able to lift the spirits of America’s troops and their families millions of times each year at hundreds of places worldwide. To lend your support to Operation SAFE Return, please visit uso.org.
Sloan Gibson is CEO and President of the USO. The organization lifts the spirits of America’s troops and their families millions of times each year at hundreds of places worldwide and provides a touch of home through centers at airports and military bases in the United States and abroad, top quality entertainment and innovative programs and services. To learn more about the USO and Operation SAFE Return, please visit uso.org and jeep.com/osr.