Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Gazette Premium Content USO at Fort Carson needs an army of volunteers

By Erin Prater Published: July 23, 2013

Have too much time on your hands?

The USO can help with that.

The home away from home for Fort Carson troops needs to double its volunteer army of 50 in short order due to vacationing volunteers and those who've recently moved away.

"I'm taking anyone age 17 and over: military, ex-military or civilians," center manager Linda Lorenzana said.

Well, not everyone. There are a few requirements.

Volunteer or customer service experience is preferred. And good intentions and a cheerful disposition are required.

"We want people who are here for all the right reasons, to do this out of the goodness of their heart, not here to eat snacks," she said. "These soldiers have been through a lot, some of them. They don't want to come in and see frowns. They want to see happy faces."

The Fort Carson USO, 1625 Ellis St., is seeking volunteers to assist at the front desk and serving food during three weekday shifts - 10 a.m.- 2 p.m., 2-6 p.m. and 6-9 p.m. - and two Saturday shifts - 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and 2-6 p.m.

The center also needs "reserves" who can be called upon to work if a volunteer doesn't show up, Lorenzana said.

There's no need to sacrifice quality time with loved ones for the sake of helping others. Couples and families are encouraged to volunteer together, Lorenzana said.

"You don't have to be away from your wife or husband - bring them along," she said. "We have three or four really nice couples who volunteer."

Volunteering at the USO is also a great way to make friends and kill time while a spouse is deployed, she added.

Those interested in donating their time can go to www.USOvolunteer.org and create a profile.

Lorenzana says she usually contacts new sign-ups "immediately."

Troops who volunteer may be eligible for promotion points and a volunteer service medal, Lorenzana said.

But it's the little gestures from appreciative troops that make working at the USO truly worth it, she said.

"I have a couple of pictures of guys who wrote on the back, 'You saved my life.'?"

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