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Wright-Patt USO spreads cheer to 445th Airmen

Col. Raymond Smith, 445th Airlift Wing commander, and Wright-Patterson United Service Organizations (USO) center operations specialist Gina Franz and volunteers Tosca Hallock and Karen Hunt pose for a photo Jan. 9, 2021.

Col. Raymond Smith, 445th Airlift Wing commander, and Wright-Patterson United Service Organizations (USO) center operations specialist Gina Franz and volunteers Tosca Hallock and Karen Hunt pose for a photo Jan. 9, 2021.

Karen Hunt, Wright-Patterson United Service Organizations (USO) volunteer, passes out chicken sandwiches to members of the 445th Airlift Wing Jan 9., 2021.

Karen Hunt, Wright-Patterson United Service Organizations (USO) volunteer, passes out chicken sandwiches to members of the 445th Airlift Wing Jan 9., 2021.

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio --

There’s little doubt that the year 2020 presented challenges to the wing and to the members that work within. As a small token of thanks, the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base United Service Organization (USO) did something to show appreciation for the hard working men and women here.

On Jan. 9, 2021, USO volunteer coordinator Gina Franz, her staff and Col. Raymond A. Smith, Jr., 445th Airlift Wing commander, visited all units of the 445th during the January unit training assembly, delivering chicken sandwiches and sodas to Airmen at the rank of staff sergeant and below. The delivery was part of a New Year’s tour intended to increase morale and say thanks.  

Colonel Smith addressed each squadron with a message of hope for the New Year. He acknowledged that 2020 was a challenging year and that he was proud of the work and sacrifices 445th Airmen were making to keep the mission going.    

First sergeants from the wing coordinated the distribution of the meals. Senior Master Sgt. Joseph “Danny” Andrews, 445th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron first sergeant, was pleased that the wing honored the hard work of his maintainers.

“These Airmen always appreciate food, but seriously, they have been working non-stop in dual shifts. Even though COVID-19 is here and has presented challenges to our work environment, the mission cannot stop,” Andrews said.

Andrews and his fellow wing first sergeants appreciate the special efforts made to maintain standards through less-than-ideal conditions.    

According to their website, the USO has continued to support the military and their families for more than seven decades, providing support to the country’s servicemen and women as they perform their most challenging duties around the world. The reach of the USO’s more than 250 centers extends to countries on every continent, operated by thousands of staff and volunteers whose goals are to match our service members’ vigilance and provide best-in-class service to those who sacrifice so much for America.

The Wright-Patterson USO is available on drill weekends from 3:00-9:00 pm for reservists.

“We’ve got food, table tennis, video games and a host of other things to say thank you and allow you to relax during the UTA,” Franz said.

Additionally, the USO Airman’s Attic has items available for free including winter coats and other outer wear on their Facebook site. https://m.facebook.com/wpusoairmansattic/.