USO Event Highlights Future New Location at Sky Harbor
It was a memorable day at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport’s Terminal 4 as dignitaries, airport visitors and local media made their way into the space near the escalators on Level 2 to see the formal dedication of the site for the new USO.
“Today is an exciting day as we welcome the USO to one of the ten busiest airports in the US and America’s Friendliest Airport™,” said Aviation Director Danny Murphy.
This extraordinary event brought community leaders to Sky Harbor to celebrate all that the military does and recognize how important the USO (United Service Organizations) is for the military and their families.
“What you see today is going to be one of the best assets Phoenix has to offer,” said Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon who discussed how important the Military Veterans Commission has been to Phoenix and to members of the military.
Sloan Gibson, President and CEO of the USO, thanked the City of Phoenix, City Council, and Military and Veteran’s hospitality staff for all of their support. He stressed the importance of the USO because when members of the military visit a USO, they know that there are people ready and willing to support them.
“It’s all about America saying thank you,” Gibson said.
Dave McIntyre, President and CEO of the TriWest Healthcare Alliance, spoke about TriWest’s efforts in the community as well as the USO and what a great addition this new USO is to the Phoenix community. TriWest has donated $50,000 to build the new USO facility in Terminal 4. McIntyre also recognized Arizona resident and Medal of Honor Winner Major Fred Ferguson.
Adjutant General of the Arizona National Guard MG Hugo Salazar shared a story of what it is like to be a member of the military and to travel through various airports. He spoke of members of the military not having access to technology and how one of the many things the USO does is give the military a chance to use a computer or make a phone call to reconnect with loved ones. But the USO does more than just that, he said, and this is why it plays such a crucial role for our servicemen and women.
“The USO is a place where you get a warm embrace and feel like you’re at home,” Salazar said. “And, it is a great experience to be able to talk to the volunteers when you visit the USO. Thank you to all of the volunteers.”
Congressman Harry Mitchell and Congressman John Shadegg also made remarks. Both echoed statements made by others about the importance of the military and the efforts that the USO has put forth.
“We owe a debt of gratitude to every single one of you,” Shadegg said.
Phoenix Councilmen Bill Gates, Michael Johnson, Claude Mattox and Sal Diciccio also came to show their support and welcome the USO to Sky Harbor’s Terminal 4.
The new USO in the Terminal 4 space is anticipated to open in 2011. It will replace the current facility that is located in Terminal 2, which was previously the Military & Veterans Hospitality Room. The USO, whose motto is “Until Every One Comes Home,” strives to provide services for military personnel and family members. The new center in Terminal 4 will have a café and snack bar, a kid’s area, and an area where servicemen and women will be able to get on the Internet as well as a location to read and relax.
Anne Theodosis, USO Arizona Director, said more than 30,000 members of the military and their families have come through Phoenix Sky Harbor’s USO and Military Room so far. For more information about the USO at Phoenix Sky Harbor, click here.
Above and to the right, is a mound of survival kits. The kits are given out to members of the military.
First posted: 9/2/10