It was just last week, on the afternoon of November 5th, that a lone gunman opened fire on troops gathered at the Soldier Readiness Processing Center at Fort Hood, Texas, killing 13 American soldiers... wounding 30 others... and shocking the nation and the world.
Fort Hood has been "home" to the USO for nearly a decade, and our Fort Hood Center, located a short distance away from the site of the shootings, was locked down for five hours, as 35 service members anxiously waited inside. Within minutes of the "all clear," the USO's Fort Hood Mobile Unit was driven directly to the site of the tragedy, and immediately began providing 24/7 support to first responders, FBI, SWAT teams, and Emergency Response Units. A second Mobile USO Unit arrived on site within hours of the incident, redoubling our efforts.
In the wake of this tragedy, the USO has gone all out to sustain the Fort Hood community in a variety of ways: helping to make counseling available to those who have lost a loved one or been emotionally impacted by the event... providing meals and snacks to GIs, their families, first responders, and the community at large... and offering troops a "safe haven" and a chance to gain some perspective on the violence so unexpectedly brought so close to home.
This tragic event could not have been anticipated (or even imagined), nor could we plan ahead to meet the sudden dramatic needs of the Fort Hood victims and their families. Fortunately, our Fort Hood USO Center is staffed with dedicated professionals and volunteers who have jumped into the fray to do whatever is needed.
But these sudden demands have created a sudden need for funds: to help the families of the fallen and the entire Fort Hood community. That's why we're emailing you, our most loyal donors, to ask for your help. We need to support not only the USO's efforts, but also those of other volunteer organizations working at Fort Hood in the aftermath of this tragedy. One hundred percent of every dollar you contribute will be used to assist the soldiers and families of Fort Hood who have been most directly affected by this tragedy. Won't you please give as generously as you can?
On behalf of the people of Fort Hood, and all those we serve, "Thanks!"