They may be gone, but the month of May is the time to show U.S. troops overseas they are not forgotten.

May is Military Appreciation Month, and the United Service Organizations, Inc. (USO) is enlisting those Americans still at home to support the troops through Operation USO Care Package.

“The USO does a tremendous job for people in the military,” said Trinidad VFW Post 4133 Commander Jerry Speake. “These care packages can really help ease the homesickness of being overseas.”

USO packages, packed with requested necessities like sun screen, phone cards and disposable cameras, are delivered to members of the U.S. Armed Forces deployed around the world to show them they are appreciated.

“When I was in Vietnam, all we had were C rations,” said Tool VFW Post 4376 Commander Jim Prisock. “They may have a different situation now, but I remember we’d come in and there would be care packages and things from home and it always cheered everybody up. It really is a worthy cause.”

According to the USO’s Website, www.usocares.org, donations of $25 sponsors a care package and each donor can include a personal message of support and encouragement in a package. These USO Care Packages at minimum, include requested items such as pre-paid worldwide phone cards, sunscreen, travel size toiletries, disposable camera and a message from the donor thanking them for their service and sacrifice.

The USO can only accept items that come directly from the manufacturer. Due to heightened security, the Defense Department will not allow items donated through other means to be included in the packages. The $25 goes towards purchasing the items that are in the packages, shipping those items, storing them until the packages are assembled and then the costs of the shipping and the supplies that are used to send them to the service men and women.

Call the Dallas/Fort Worth USO office, 972-574-8182 or 972-574-8183 for more information.

May has been observed as Military Appreciation Month since April 30, 1999, when the 106th Congress passed Senate Resolution 33, entitled ‘Designating May 1999 as National Military Appreciation Month,’ according to the resolution’s official Web site www.nmam.org.

The 108th Congress also passed Concurrent Resolution 328 on Nov. 18, 2003, to recognize and honor the United States Armed Forces and to support the designation of a National Military Appreciation Month.

The proclamation states, “Whereas the observance of events recognizing the contributions of the Armed Forces is a tangible and highly effective way of sustaining morale and improving quality of life for service members and their families....”

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e-mail cross@athensreview.com

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