Every year, the USO at Sea-Tac Airport provides services to the thousands of military that go through its gates.
However, the center has outgrown its 3,400-square-foot space and will be building a new space at the Airport that will be more than twice that size to accommodate the active duty and military veterans that utilize the services provided.
Last month Sounders FC forward Lamar Neagle toured both facilities to lend his support to the USO and the service members who use it each day.
"I didn't really know about it and I don't think that a lot of people do if they don't have family that is in the military," said Neagle, who has extended family in several different military branches. "It's cool to even hope to help out a little bit. It's one of those services that you don't really think about and might not even know about it. It'd be great to see them better-funded, so hopefully we can let people know more about it."
The USO Northwest Center is one of over 160 worldwide locations, providing travel assistance and comforts of home like hot meals, snacks, a TV lounge, showers, a bunk room and other amenities to the thousands of service members and their families that come through Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
A program that was started in 1941, disbanded in 1947, restarted in 1951 and has survived on charitable donations ever since, the USO is best known for the live performances conducted for troops at camps during wartime. Nearly 25,000 people volunteer at those worldwide locations each year with each location's services varying.
Neagle's visit came just weeks before Sounders FC will honor the military in the stands and around the Seattle area with Military Appreciation Night on May 17 when it faces the San Jose Earthquakes.
At that match, 10 soldiers will go through the re-enlistment ceremony before the match at Soccer Celebration in the north plaza. The 32-person I Corps US Army Band from Joint Base Lewis-McChord will also be performing and a USO RV Canteen will be outside the stadium promoting the efforts to enhance the Sea-Tac USO.
Before the match on the field, 10 service members will serve as the Honor Guard, 50 service members will hold the US flag during the National Anthem and 50 more service members will line the center circle when the players march onto the field.
Taking a moment to pay tribute to the thousands of military in the Seattle area and around the world is an opportunity that the team has shown to embrace.
"That goes with the whole mentality of the Sounders and how we've been in the Seattle community," Neagle said. "It's been amazing to be a part of and being able to go to places like Fort Lewis have been great for me."
For more information on assisting the construction of a new USO location at Sea-Tac Aiport, visit www.usopsa.org/seatac.php.
With your support, Sounders FC will invite military personnel, veterans, and their families to CenturyLink Field for Military Appreciation Night on May 17th and honor their service for our country. For more information, click here.