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YARS celebrates USO birthday, recognizes partnership

Col. Dan Sarachene, commander of the 910th Airlift Wing, and Chief Master Sgt. Robert Potts, Command Chief of the 910th Airlift Wing, present a Wing photograph to Bruce Bille, executive director of the USO of Northern Ohio, Feb. 11, 2018.

Col. Dan Sarachene, commander of the 910th Airlift Wing, and Chief Master Sgt. Robert Potts, Command Chief of the 910th Airlift Wing, present a Wing photograph to Bruce Bille, executive director of the USO of Northern Ohio, Feb. 11, 2018. The 910th celebrated the USO’s 77th birthday by recognizing the volunteers and staff members that support the United States Armed Forces. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Jeffrey Grossi)

YOUNGSTOWN AIR RESERVE STATION, Ohio --

Youngstown Air Reserve Station and the USO of Northern Ohio celebrated the belated 77th birthday of the USO on Feb. 11, 2018, here. Bruce Bille, the YARS USO Executive Director, and four USO volunteers were recognized for their support of the 910th Airlift Wing during the ceremony.

The USO was brought to life prior to America’s involvement in World War II on Feb. 4, 1941. President Franklin D. Roosevelt sought to lift the morale of our military and nourish support on the home front by uniting several service organizations into one. For over seven decades the USO has continued to provide support to the United States military and their families. The USO includes more than 200 centers extending to countries on every continent which are operated by thousands of staff members and volunteers.

“The USO is about the people who are willing to serve,” said Bille. “We have a lot of people that are behind the scenes and within the community that provide the donations and everything we have here. There are a lot of people and programs at work, and it’s all for our service members. It’s our way of giving back.”           

On April 11, 2015, the USO of Northern Ohio and the 910th AW hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony for the USO lounge here which was considered the first of its kind on a host Air Reserve Station in the continental United States. It was established to further the organization’s mission to support U.S. Service members.

“We’re very grateful to have the USO on the installation, and we are especially proud that we’re the first Reserve installation to host the USO,” said Col. Dan Sarachene, commander of the 910th AW. “We’re reminded that what brings life to the USO is its volunteers and those who provide the resources to the organization in support of Service members.  Today we recognize the local volunteers, because without them this USO wouldn’t function.  We could have a building, but the building is not USO. The people, the volunteers are the USO.”