Monthly Archives: May 2010

Support Our Troops Week Raises Funds for USO

Everyone is iinvited to help Merrill Gardens communities raise funds for the USO (United Service Organizations) in June. Each of the 56 communities in ten states will join together to host a USO fundraising event the week of June 14th when they celebrate Merrill Gardens Support Our Troops Week. The communities are planning a variety of special events and the requested donation is just $10. Merrill Gardens is supplying all the food and entertainment and all money raised will be given directly to the USO. Guests can choose to attend a ‘Mess Hall’ lunch or dinner and many communities are planning live music, dances and auctions.

The USO is the bridge between the American public and the U.S. military, delivering comfort, morale and recreational services to the military and the organization holds a special place in the hearts of many of Merrill Gardens senior residents who served in the Armed Forces. This congressionally chartered, private, nonprofit organization relies on the generosity of individuals and corporations for support. They provide services for the military at community and airport centers and by reaching out to troops across the world. Last year the USO served more than 5 million military and family members worldwide.

“The money raised at the Merrill Gardens events will allow us to continue providing the morale and welfare necessities the USO has been known for since 1941,” says Donald Leingang, Executive Director, USO Puget Sound Area. “Donations will help fund our centers and our special programs such as our United Through Reading Program that allows deploying parents to be videotaped reading a bedtime story to their children. While the military parent is en route to Iraq, the USO mails the book and DVD to the family home, allowing memories to be captured forever.

In 2009, the army of volunteers who work with the USO provided the “last meal on U.S. soil” to every deploying military member.

“We are so pleased to be able to support the wonderful programs of the USO with our community fundraisers. Our team members and residents are working hard to put together some very special events and we are hoping to see big crowds join us,” says Bill Pettit, Merrill Gardens President.

The USO says the funds are badly needed.

“As the number of military asked to redeploy for a second and third time continue to increase, the necessity to partner with civilian organizations becomes more critical. The USO supports as many programs as fiscally possible each year, but due to these financial constraints, we occasionally have to say “we can’t help”. We feel bad about that. Receiving this donation would allow us to not only proudly say “yes”, but to extend our services to the ever increasing number of military who have been deployed on multiple occasions and to the spouses and children that have endured 8 years of conflict. We are proud Merrill Gardens has entered this partnership with us – together we will be able to support the brave Americans fighting to ensure our freedoms,” said Leingang.

For a complete list of the USO fundraising events at Merrill Gardens communities, visit our website at

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