"Because we love our troops." Volunteers Reflect on Service for USO's 81st

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USO Bethesda volunteers Barbara Reinike (Left) and Ruth Aaron (Right) pose for a photo at the USO's 81st Birthday Celebration, NSA Bethesda

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A volunteer at the USO Warrior and Family Center at NSA Bethesda hands out cake during the USO's 81st birthday celebration.

The USO’s legacy of evolving to meet the ever-changing needs of servicemembers defines us, but it is our storied history that shapes us. As the USO turns 81 years old, we spoke to two volunteers with The USO Warrior and Family Center at NSA Bethesda who use that history to guide their ongoing commitment to service.

Barbara Reinike and Ruth Aaron are longtime volunteers at the Bethesda USO. Combined, they’ve given over 14 years of volunteerism to the installation’s 12,000+ active duty and civilian employees.

During the center’s celebration for the USO’s 81st Birthday, Ruth, who is now 84, reflects on family who served during WW2 and hearing stories of how the USO supported the war fighter in those tumultuous years.

“It’s hard to think of that time. It was difficult for my family, we had a loved uncle who served,” Ruth said. “Being at the USO is part of that legacy of honoring all those who have fought and continue to fight for this country.”

Barbara also recounts memories as a young child, witnessing family return home from the war and observing how it affected them. She too remembers how the USO was there for them. “Now when I see today’s young service members come in it reminds me of those days,” says Reinike.

For both Aaron and Reinike, their many years of volunteerism at the USO is driven by their long-standing patriotism and love for the nation’s servicemen and women.

“We are here today because we love our troops. We want to support them in anyway and remind them they are cared for, that’s why we volunteer,” said Aaron. “For 81 years the USO has allowed people to do that so we will continue to serve here for all those who continue to serve.“

You can join our ranks of volunteers and help drive the mission of the USO at usometro.org/volunteer.

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