Fort Bragg’s USO of North Carolina feted more than 100 service members at its annual holiday luncheon, held Dec. 7, in the Soldier Support Center.
The USO Single Service Member Holiday Lunch was sponsored by the installation’s American States Utility Services, Inc. and catered by Mission BBQ of Fayetteville. It featured an appearance by the USO Show Troupe from New York, said Renee Lane, Fort Bragg USO of NC director.
Lunch included pulled pork, macaroni and cheese, green beans, cole slaw, pulled chicken, turkey, rolls and drinks.
“It’s amazing to have American States to step up and support our troops. It really brings a special meaning to the holiday to have a local business here on Fort Bragg provide a holiday meal, support and a festive day to help these young men and women get through the holidays,” Lane said.
ASUS oversees Fort Bragg’s water and wastewater systems.
Service members said they appreciated, not only the lunch and festivities, but also the work of the USO.
“I love the USO. I like that they support Soldiers; take care of Soldiers this time of the year,” said Staff Sgt. Nikkia Caston, of the 8th Psychological Operations Battalion. “Even though I’m a staff sergeant, I don’t have a spouse … it’s good to be a part of an extended Family.”
Specialists LaTerria Tyndell and Destiny Gordon, both assigned to the 50th Signal Battalion, smiled and reveled as the show troupe sang songs like “Jingle Bells” and “Uptown Funk.”
“I love it. I like this type of environment because everybody is happy,” Tyndell said.
Gordon said she is not accustomed to seeing a lot of Soldiers where she is from (New York), or getting support from the community, but she’s been at Fort Bragg for six months — long enough to see who supports the military.
“I’ve noticed that Mission BBQ is always helping out,” she said. “They’re my people.”
According to Alex Brewer, a Mission BBQ spokesperson, the company favors helping service members.
“It (the meal) helps those who can’t go home for the holidays. It is important to make people feel at home wherever they’re at,” said Brewer.
An Army veteran who served four years, he explained that he understands what it is like to be a Soldier away from home.
ASUS has a history of giving back to Fort Bragg.
They hold a yearly golf tournament and donate the proceeds to Fisher House, as well as partners with Wreaths across America, said Scott Lance, superintendent of ASUS.
“It’s just what we like to do. We always have a big turnout with all our employees at different events on Fort Bragg,” he said. “Everybody wants to help out.”
In addition to lunch, troops were able to build their own gift bags from a selection of items, including a USO coosie, T-shirt and paper weight, Whitman’s Sampler of assorted chocolates, various DVDs (“Pirates of the Caribbean”, “Old Glory,” “Thor”, etc.), turkey jerky, stationery and other items.
Fort Bragg Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. John K. Cervanka, who attended the luncheon, had a message for the USO of NC and for all who contributed to facilitating the lunch for single service members.
“They are always doing things for our Soldiers,” Cervanka said. “I’m here on behalf, not only of the Soldier, but of the USO, to say thank you and to break bread with Soldiers.”
The USO of NC’s installation office is located in the Soldier Support Center (Building 4-2843 Normandy Drive). For more information about their services and upcoming events, visit https://northcarolina.uso.org/fortbragg or call 495-1437.