By Genevieve Story


We can all recall our favorite book from our childhood. Books capture our imaginations and let us create an entire world we can explore.

The Fayetteville Woodpeckers, a Houston Astros Class A advanced minor league baseball team out of Fayetteville, North Carolina, were the special guests for a March 28 Story Time event hosted by the USO of North Carolina Fort Bragg.

Story Time is a free monthly event for military Families. Children under the age of six and their parents are welcomed to attend at the USO’s Fort Bragg office at the Soldier Support Center. Families receive a copy of the book of the month, and refreshments and crafts are provided.

“The Owl and the Woodpecker” by Brian Wildsmith captured the attention of the 40 Families who registered for this month’s event. Victoria Huggins, manager of Marketing and Media Relations for the Fayetteville Woodpeckers minor league baseball team, was the honorary reader, and delighted to be part of Story Time with the USO of North Carolina.

“The Fayetteville Woodpeckers love and value our military Families, so to be able to spend time with the children was an honor and a treat. We hope they will cherish their books, Woodpeckers bookmarks and crafts for many years to come,” Huggins said.

This was the first event since the launch of the Woodpeckers team charity, The Fayetteville Woodpeckers Community Leaders Program. The charities initiative facilitates the team’s investment of time, energy and resources in support of youth sports and military service members and their Families, providing resources and opportunity. Huggins conveyed on behalf of the organization the thrill to share this moment with The USO of North Carolina.

Huggins animated the story line, acknowledging words with sounds and gestures, and checking in with the children’s “listening ears” along the way. Conveying through this action that even if the details of the storyline are uncertain, we remember how the book made us feel.

“Reading is very special because we can use our imagination,” she said to the room filled with inspired boys and girls at Story Time. “Where can we go if we use our imagination? We can go anywhere!”

The USO of North Carolina strengthens America’s military service members by keeping them connected to Family, home and country, throughout their service to the nation.

An event such as Story Time is just another way of maintaining that cohesion.

“My grandma taught first grade for 20 years, and my mom homeschooled me. I would like to think that their passion for education rubbed off on me. It was a joy to be part of Story Time,” Huggins said.