Those who desire to volunteer their time at JIA USO Welcome Center please contact our Chapter USO Committee Chairman, CDR Jerry Johnson USN (Ret) at (904) 249-1654 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org to become involved.
In 2005 our Mayport Chapter formed a special USO Committee, to help support our
local Active Duty Service Members, and their families. In 2008 the Chapter Board
of Directors signed a “Letter of Support “with the Area USO and made the USO Committee
a standing committee, due to its valuable work in supporting the aims and objectives
of the Chapter.
The first direct support of the USO consisted of providing volunteers, and light
snacks, to the newly established USO Welcome Center in the Jacksonville International
Airport to assist military personnel and their families arriving in our area. The
USO Welcome Centers at airports across the world serve to provide a safe haven for
these weary travelers, and are staffed by volunteers, which the Chapter helps recruit.
Volunteers at the JIA Center work in four hour shifts around the clock and receive
free parking and shuttle service provided by USAPARK.NET, and can write off their
mileage as a tax deductible expense. The Center is located at the base of the escalators
at the main airport entrance, and contains TV, computers and snacks, all free, for
the traveling troops. Please visit when there.
The Chapter’s second major contribution, has been to raise donated funds for the
Mayport USO Centers free” No Dough Dinners” provided twice per month for the families
of deployed service members directly before paydays. A real “life saver” say some
cash strapped families. To accomplish this, committee members went community wide
enlisting donations from Civic and Veterans organizations. This has resulted in
formation of the Beaches Veterans Association, who hold monthly BBQ’s, with all
proceeds going to fund the USO dinners. To date the Chapter has been instrumental
in funding all dinners during 2008 and into 2009. Staffed by volunteers, the Mayport
Center is located at 2560 Mayport Road. You are encouraged to visit and tour this
4000 foot newly renovated and expanded facility, complete with cyber cafes, large
screen TV, computer center, and a child development center.
After receiving word of a newly created USO Center at Camp Balad, Iraq, the Committee
queried the new Director as to their most pressing needs. The response was “flavored
powdered drink packets” for their tepid drinking water. Full back packs in 140 degree
heat necessitate a constant intake of water to prevent heat stroke and dehydration,
and hot water isn’t palatable in the large quantities needed. Thus, started the
Chapter's third endeavor of supplying the fighting troops with drink packets. Again,
the Committee went to the community asking for donations and was rewarded with enough
funds to send 47 boxes to the USO Centers in Iraq and Camp Buehring, Kuwait. This
will be an ongoing Chapter commitment until “they all come home”.
The Jacksonville Area USO is entirely funded by local community donations, and has
NO financial assistance from the US Government, military, nor the USO World Organization,
and is staffed primarily by volunteers. We ask that you consider volunteering at
one of these USO Centers, and, or contributing to this noble organization, making
a “Home Away from Home “for our service members..
The JIA USO Welcome Center opened its doors on November 11,
2004 in order to assist military personnel and their families arriving at Jacksonville
International Airport. USO Welcome Centers at airports across the country
and overseas serve to provide a safe haven for weary travelers. Staffed primarily
through volunteers, the USO was seeking sources of volunteers from groups who might
want to take this on as a long term project. When MOAA was approached by the
USO with a request for support, several members readily volunteered!
Volunteers are provided with free parking at JAXPARK.com. They then utilize
the shuttle service provided by JAXPARK.com to get to and from the airport.
Volunteers travel to and from their volunteer location can also write off the mileage
on their tax return.
Not only has the Mayport Chapter of MOAA has come through with volunteers; they
also established a source of free snacks from a local business for the USO Airport
Center to distribute to its visitors. Wallace and Barbara Lau, of Lau’s Vending
Company, have graciously agreed to donate these snacks. This will help minimize
the overhead involved in keeping food items available to our service men and women,
and their families.
If members can’t donate their time, they may donate needed items for the center.
While we have a source of snacks for the center, water and sodas are also needed.
Bookcases, movies, books, Xbox games, phone cards, refrigerators, microwaves and
cots are also needed, particularly when we are able to expand the center.
The USO Welcome Center is just one of the Greater Jacksonville Area USO’s locations,
serving our local military men and women, and their families. Established
in 1941, the Greater Jacksonville Area USO has been located in several places throughout
the community. Currently, they operate out of the Central Office at NAS Jax,
a 5500 square foot recreation center in Atlantic Beach, and the USO Welcome Center
at JIA. Each of these offices relies on the generosity of the community in
terms of funding and volunteers in order to deliver the broad spectrum of services
From cyber cafes made available free of charge, to meeting space for support groups
and educational classes, to space to hold retirement and wedding receptions and
holiday parties, to providing food baskets to families in need during the Thanksgiving
and Christmas Holidays, to providing back backs filled with school supplies to young
Sailors children. Should members not be able to volunteer at the USO Welcome
Center, there are also volunteer opportunities available at the USO Center in Atlantic
Join the growing list of volunteers who are giving their time to this worthy cause.
MOAA has been provided with a document containing questions and answers which outline
what is entailed by volunteering at the USO Welcome Center.
USO Center, located at 2560 Mayport Road, has recently been renovated and expanded.
If you haven't stopped in to see it you should.
The center has a great computer center, a giant screen TV to view Jaguar games and
a child development center that is staffed by volunteers. They also have tickets
to local events such as Jaguar games.
On alternate Monday evenings they offer "No Dough Dinners" (free) for E4 and below
and the families of deployed sailors. Our chapter has taken the lead in talking
to community groups and businesses to help support these "No Dough Dinners".
In 2007 our efforts have been successful in obtaining either funding for these dinners
or have businesses deliver and serve the dinners.