FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 1, 2019

A Force of Nearly 600 Honors the Northwest's Service Members of the Year and Raises Over $600,000 at 2019 USO Five-Star Gala
Renton, WA  - USO supporters gathered at the Hyatt Regency Lake Washington on October 19 to honor six military service members, three distinguished USO champions and raise more than $600,000, making the 2019 USO Northwest Gala the most successful fundraiser in the organization's 53-year history!  Proceeds from the annual Five-Star Gala fund vital programs and services developed to meet the needs of America's military service members and their families.  This year's USO Northwest Gala was presented by The Boeing Company, Delta Air Lines and La-Z-Boy of Seattle and featured special guest Medal of Honor Recipient Florent A. Groberg - the 10th living service member to be recognized with America's highest valor award for his actions on August 8, 2012 in Afghanistan.
   
"The mission of the USO is to strengthen America's military service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country, throughout their service to the nation" said Pam Valdez, USO Gala Chair 2019, USO Board Member and VP of Air Force Services for The Boeing Company. "At the USO, what we do is simple. Whether it's a safe place to sleep, something to eat, a telephone call home, or something as simple as a shower, the USO Northwest continues to deliver on our promise to always be by their side."
  
Highlighting the evening's program was the salute to the 2019 Military Service Members of the Year for the Pacific Northwest region:  SSG Alexander A. Miller, Soldier of the Year; CPL Brecken Hackler, Marine of the Year; MU1 Garrett Stephan, Sailor of the Year; SrA Carolene Herrel, Airman of the Year; OSI Carson Russell, Coast Guard Person of the Year; and SSG Jonathan Tinsley, National Guard Airman of the Year.  Additionally, USO Northwest presented the Order of Distinguished Service to Starbucks, La-Z-Boy of Seattle and Admiral Thomas B. Hayward, USN (Retired) former Chief of Naval Operations for the United States Navy from 1978 to 1982.  This award is the highest level of recognition by the USO and is reserved for individuals and organizations having demonstrated exceptional service to military members and their families through sustained support of the USO Northwest.
"We are very fortunate in the Pacific Northwest, as our local corporate and community partners care deeply about America's military members and their families," said Donald M. Leingang, Executive Director of USO Northwest and retired Commander, U.S. Navy.  "We greatly appreciate the continued support of our Presenting Sponsors, The Boeing Company, Delta Air Lines and La-Z-Boy of Seattle, as well as sustaining partners Accenture, Alaska Airlines, AT&T, Chateau Ste. Michelle, Costco, Dollar, GEICO, Holland America, Microsoft, NECA Puget Sound Chapter, Perkins Coie, Seattle Mariners, Sound Kitchen and Bath, Starbucks, Tito's Handmade Vodka and many more."
   
As the men and women in uniform continue to answer America's call to service, the USO Northwest remains steadfast, working with its partners and volunteers, to support our military community.  USO Northwest is grateful to our corporate and community partners, as they are truly the "Force Behind the Forces."
About USO Northwest
F or over 78 years, the USO has strengthened America's military service members by keeping them connected to family and loved ones, throughout their service to the nation. USO Northwest (USO-NW) continues that mission today by serving more than 800,000 service members and their families annually throughout Washington and Oregon. USO-NW operates two travel-based centers at Sea-Tac International Airport and Portland International Airport along with two installation-based centers on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, the Shali USO Center and Camp Lewis USO Center. Three Mobile USO Canteens expand our service delivery by offering the military and their families the same best-in-class support we provide at stationary centers, but in the field during training's, pier side for deployments and homecomings, and throughout military and civilian locations in the Pacific Northwest.
 
USO-NW provides support to those who need it most, including morale-boosting and family-strengthening programs, deployment and redeployment support to help servicemen and women adjusting to the duty ahead, resiliency training for families facing multiple deployments, as well as support for families coping with the loss of a family member, families of the fallen.
 
The USO is not part of the federal government and does not receive government support.  A congressionally chartered, nonprofit organization, the USO relies solely on private support from individuals, organizations, foundations, corporations and fundraisers to support its activities and is powered by a family of volunteers to accomplish its mission of connection.
Media Contact
Tim Bogle
Director of Development
USO Northwest                  
(206) 719-5662
development@USONW.org

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