The USO in Nevada works hard to show the men and women of the Armed Forces the appreciation the city has for all they do. The director of the USO center in Las Vegas, Tim Mullin, took time to tell us the events planned for the month of May. This is a great weekend for military members and their families to get out and about in Las Vegas and enjoy some of USO planned events.
Tell us a little about the Southern Nevada USO’s “A Million Moments in May” campaign. How is it going so far, and what are some of the upcoming events planned for the latter part of May?
The goal of this campaign was to create easy and impactful ways for the Southern Nevada community to rally behind to support the men and women of our Armed Forces. This is our way of giving back, thanking them, and most importantly honoring and celebrating them. Our troops and their families sacrifice so much (their friends, families, hometowns, and sometimes even their lives) to protect the freedoms we take for granted every day. Now it is our turn to give back.
So far the campaign is going great! We’ve gotten a handful of pictures on our Every Moment Counts wall in our Terminal 1 airport lounge. The pinup cards are flying off the shelves at Crazy Pita and RED Bars, and donations are pouring into Bank of America branches across the valley!
We’ve already changed the colors of both the iconic “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign as well as The High Roller to red, white and blue, while The High Roller will be offering free rides to all active duty troops, their families and veterans over Memorial Day weekend.
A couple other events we have coming up include a movie night for up to 180 local service members and their families at the Galaxy Theater inside the Cannery Hotel and Casino as well as a USO night with the Las Vegas 51s, where we plan to host a surprise welcome home for a local service member. The goal will be to dress up the service member as the catcher and have their family come out for the first pitch.
The use of pinup cards giving residents a way to personally thank the troops is unique. Can you expand on that and how it is going so far?
The pinup cards are a great way for our community can simply say “thank you” to our local military community. Almost halfway through the month, we’ve already gotten such a great response from our community partners! We’ve already sold more cards than I had predicted and had to order more! It’s great to have such wonderful community partners.
Crazy Pita and RED Bars are both local small businesses committed to helping make a difference in our community, and both jumped at the opportunity to help support our campaign by selling the cards in all of their locations throughout the valley. Their teams are awesome at pitching the cards to their customers and posting them up on the walls in their restaurants.
The use of personal photos in the “Thank a Troop” photo project displayed at the USO Terminal 1 lounge at McCarran will heighten members of the armed services sense of appreciation that citizens feel as they pass through to their respective destinations. The lounge opened on Veterans Day in 2010 with USO’s president and USO Celebrity Circle Chairman Wayne Newton in attendance. The center was an effort by the Las Vegas community and many others. How would you describe the effect it has on troops visiting it?
So far, it has had a very positive effect on people. Every time a service member comes in and looks at the wall, I see a smile come on their face. If nothing else, it’s a small USO moment we can create for that one person when they come in.
Our mission is to “lift the spirits of America’s troops and their families.” And we feel this is a small gesture we can do to help advance that mission. It also helps our community members and supporters feel like they are doing something to contribute toward a positive morale boost at the USO.
Towards the end of May, you have events planned at The LINQ and with the Las Vegas 51s. Tell us about them.
The High Roller at the LINQ has been another great community partner. We reached out to them to see what we can do together for our troops. We had hoped they would change colors, but never expected for them to come back and offer FREE rides for all active duty troops, their families and veterans over Memorial Day weekend.
It goes to show the support our community has for our local military community and another way we can help “lift the spirits” of our troops. I hope many of our local service members use this opportunity to have a day out with their families. Strengthening and enhancing the lives of military spouses and families is part of USO Las Vegas’ mission.
Often called the silent ranks, military spouses and families struggle facing multiple deployments and trainings while making sure everything is taken care of at home (such as paying the bills and getting children to school) often when their loved one is overseas. So we hope families will use this as an opportunity to do some family-strengthening.
As for the USO Night with the Las Vegas 51s, like I said earlier we hope to surprise a local military family with their service member coming home. We also hope to raise a little money as well. We will be selling raffle tickets that night for a chance to win dinner for two at Andres and two tickets to Showstoppers at Wynn Las Vegas, a $500 gift basket to RED Bars, and a new Dell computer!! We are also selling $12 tickets that folks can purchase online at http://goo.gl/jaSyZ2, using promo code: USO.
With their tickets guests will get a free 51s baseball cap and, if one of the first 2,500 in attendance, will get a free 51s jersey.
Please tell us more about the Bank of America donation drive and the USO movie night at the Cannery and the stuff-a-jeep campaign at selected Sam’s Clubs in the valley.
Bank of America is a long-time local partner of USO, and we are excited about this compassionate initiative to make it easier for everyone to donate to local military families. Folks can come to any of the 51 Bank of America branches to donate items such as cleaning supplies, toiletries, laundry detergent and snacks.
These items will be packaged and personally hand-delivered to local families of currently deployed troops. Our nation’s military families face unprecedented stresses, not the least of which are repeated, extended deployments of their loved ones to hostile locations far from home, friends and family.
We looked at a survey of key military spouses associations and found that the most often requested items are simple, basic household items. Cleaning supplies, laundry detergent, dryer sheet, lotions, shampoo, conditioner, hand soaps, etc. This is what they ask for, and this is what we want to provide them!
The Stuff a Jeep campaign is a great way for us to help get supplies for our two lounges at McCarran International Airport. Chapman, Chrysler Jeeps will place vehicles outside three Sam’s Clubs locations on Sunday, May 24 and three other locations on Monday, May 25 from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. to secure USO Las Vegas wish list items to help stock the supplies of both our Terminal 1 and Terminal 3 lounges for traveling active duty troops and their families.
Supplies we are asking for include snack food items, coffee, creamers, food service supplies (paper plates, napkins), and some cleaning supplies. We will have a team of volunteers at each location as well that will hand out flyers with exactly what we are looking for to make it easy for shoppers to pick up an item or 2 for us!
Sunday, May 24th Locations:
Las Vegas Sam’s Club 4974
2650 East Craig Road
Las Vegas, NV 89030
Las Vegas Sam’s Club 8177
5101 S. Pecos
Las Vegas, NV 89120
Las Vegas Sam’s Club 6382
7175 Spring Mountain Rd.
Las Vegas, NV 89117
Monday, May 25th Locations:
Las Vegas Sam’s Club 4983
7100 W. Arroyo Crossing Pwky.
Las Vegas, NV 89113
Las Vegas Sam’s Club 6257
8080 W Tropical Pkwy
Las Vegas, NV
1910 East Serene
Las Vegas, NV 89123
What can local residents do to support the USO?
Here is a list of call to action items the public can take to support our campaign:
- Thank a local troop by taking a picture of yourself, signing it, and writing a message to thank them for their service. USO Las Vegas will post all photos on our Every Moment Counts wall. Photos can be dropped off, taken onsite at our Terminal 1 Airport Lounge (located just outside the A&B gates security checkpoint at McCarran International Airport) or emailed to USOVegas@uso.org.
- Donate $1, $3, or $5 to USO Las Vegas by visiting any of the three Crazy Pita locations or five Remedy’s, Distill, Elixir bars/restaurants. Also donate any amount by visiting one of the twenty-four Hudson or Hudson News travel convenience store throughout McCarran International Airport or contribute online at www.uso.org/DonateLasVegas.
- Drop off wish list items at any of the 51 Las Vegas Bank of America Branches on May 4–23 or during our Stuff-a-Jeep weekend at Sam’s Club on Sunday, May 24 or Monday, May 25 from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m.
- Purchase tickets to USO Night with the Las Vegas 51s on Saturday, May 23rd at http://goo.gl/jaSyZ2. Use promo code: USO.
- Call USO Las Vegas at 702-261-6590 to find out how you can help serve through volunteering