USO, Full Circle Home Team Up for Mother’s Day Packages
By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May 5, 2014 The USO and the nonprofit organization Full Circle Home teamed up May 2 to assemble Mother’s Day care packages for military moms and other sustainers on the homefront.
Dr. Jill Biden, right, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, leads a group of volunteers as they assemble Mother’s Day care packages at the vice presidential residence in Washington, May 2, 2014. USO President John I. Pray Jr., left, and Vickie Durfee, center, founder of Full Circle Home, represent the other agencies involved in the service project. DOD photo by Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
The service project, hosted by Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, was held at the vice presidential residence, where Dr. Biden joined USO volunteers and staff members, congressional spouses and others to assemble the packages.
USO President John I. Pray Jr. greeted the volunteers and explained the goal of the service project.
“We have come together to assemble 2,000 Full Circle Home care packages,” he said. “These packages contain items to comfort and support a very special segment of our military family: moms, spouses, girlfriends and all those amazing people who sustain the homefront while their loved ones are deployed serving this great nation elsewhere.”
Pray thanked the volunteers, including Lilibet Hagel, wife of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, and lauded the secretary for his support of service members and their loved ones.
“I know that the secretary has always kept the men and women in uniform and their families uppermost in his mind,” he said. “It’s wonderful to have his support.”
Full Circle Home arranges gift boxes to be sent on behalf of service members to military moms and spouses around the country. Mother’s Day packages consist of “pampering products” such as tissues, hand cream, perfume, nail polish and an engraved bracelet.
Vickie Durfee, founder of Full Circle Home and a self-described “Marine mom,” addressed the group and expressed her appreciation for the USO.
“It’s great to team up with like-minded organizations that really support the troops in so many different ways,” she said.
“Full Circle Home has been able to help deployed troops send their love and gifts at Mother’s Day and at Christmas to women in every state in the nation, and to bases around the world. We’re very unique in that we help the deployed send something special to their [heroes] that’s very personal and [a] very intimate thing.”
Durfee noted troops have the opportunity to place a handwritten love note to their special lady in each gift.
“When the gifts reach these women, we find that the phone calls and emails start,” Durfee said. “These women do not expect anything to come to them -- they send packages, they don’t expect to receive them. They’re so touched that people would think of them, to recognize them and their sacrifices, and honor them.”
Biden noted the event was taking place as Joining Forces, the initiative she and First Lady Michelle Obama started and have championed, is marking its third anniversary. It’s important to “make sure that all these brave men and women, and their families” know that America recognizes their sacrifices, she said.
“The USO is always there, [and] always an incredible partner,” she added. “I’m sure that many of the congressional spouses who are here today … find that about the USO as well.”
Biden said it was nice to be able to put together care packages for Mother’s Day, recalling the year when her son was deployed to Iraq.
“I don’t know about you, but it was one tough year to have my son deployed,” she said. “I don’t know how I would have taken it had I opened something from my son when he was deployed. I think I would have cried for like a week. But I hope we bring smiles their faces.”
Biden expressed her gratitude to the volunteers for donating their time to honor service members and their families.
“I want our troops to know we’re thinking of them each and every day, and [that] we’re supporting them,” she said. “I hope they feel the love from all of us.”
(Follow Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone Marshall on Twitter: @MarshallAFPS)