MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Preparing for their 70-year anniversary was not an easy task for the volunteers who serve the oldest USO in the country. They needed the help of an extra hand or two…or 80.
For the past three weeks, Marines from Company C, 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, have gone to the USO of Jacksonville, N.C. to provide necessary beautification and renovation for the anniversary.
With tasks such as painting, mowing and planting flowers, the Marines accomplished a lot from the original state the USO was in to have it ready for this weekend.
“It helps tremendously that they’re here. I have tapped out my husband and my friends to help get this place ready and it really helps that the Marines come here in the afternoons to do what they can,” said Marisa Reeder, the assistant director of the Jacksonville USO.
USO volunteers attend all kinds of military-related events throughout the year to include homecomings, departures and family events to help support the military in every way possible.
For some of the Marines this was their first time doing community service since deploying to Afghanistan. It had a good impact on the Marines to follow through and do more community service later in life.
“This is the first time I have ever done community service, and I have enjoyed the feeling of accomplishment a lot,” said Cpl. Kevin Mailloux, a Manchester, N.H. native. “From what this place looked like before we started to now, its leaps and bounds. It’s a cool thought to take a step back and say to yourself ‘I did that’ when everything is said and done.”
The staff members of the Jacksonville USO hope to have a big turn out with the upcoming anniversary. Tickets were distributed to all the services to get maximum participation.
“I don’t know how long I will be working here, but I’m honored to have the privilege of setting up for the 70th Anniversary this year,” said Reeder. “We hope it will be a big turnout especially with how much effort these Marines have put in to this place the past few weeks, but I’m sure either way their efforts will be appreciated by us, the community and service members that come here in the future.”