I found myself tagging along to New York City again this weekend while Naoma was in meetings with the Verizon FiOS ambassadors. Tough duty, but someone has to do it. A colleague at work told me to check into the USO because they sometimes have tickets for entertainment options for US servicemen and servicewomen vacationing in New York.
Prior to arrival I looked up their website, and found it was a few short blocks from the train station. I immediately got off the train in Penn Station and made a beeline down 8th avenue in the rain to the USO located at The Port Authority Bus Terminal, 625 Eighth Avenue, North Wing, 2nd Floor, New York, NY, 10018. (212) 695-6160 Hours of operation: Daily, 0830 – 1930
I was greeted by the nicest volunteers as anyone who has had the pleasure of going to a USO has experienced before. They were inquisitive not just in what I wanted, but also what I did. The USO volunteers are amazing, and don’t think that hospitality is lost in the big city, it’s not!
I will not pretend to understand what makes this organization run, or what makes these people so amazingly generous. I have been in the military for most all of my adult life, I’m saturated in it, so what I do, what my colleagues do, doesn’t seem that special or amazing to me, until you get an outside perspective. They want to hear the stories, share their own sea-stories or stories of their children serving of whom they are so proud.
So for my first night in town I was given, free of charge, tickets to the hottest show in town “School of Rock” at the Winter Garden Theatre.
The second night I was there I was blessed with tickets, free of charge, to “The Illusionists” at the Neil Simon Theatre.
Both of the shows were amazing and Naoma and I were both humbled by the generosity of all who make this sort of thing available to our military members. There is no judgement, no one there makes you feel like a free loader, you are met with the graciousness of people who love you for what you do for your country. I am on the train home to Norfolk and Monday will be another work day, like any other, where I get to provide anesthesia to the best clientele in the world. When I think of it that way, it makes me understand a little better. I always want to give America’s heroes the best I can, and I think the USO volunteers and supporters must feel the same way.
So to anyone involved with the USO, in any state, I say thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your generosity reminds me that what we do isn’t just a job, it’s a choice, it’s a service, and I can tell you that it’s a pleasure to do what I can.