A volunteer is defined as a person who does something, especially helping other people, willingly and without being forced or paid to do it. This description, tells us about the heart that all of our volunteers have, and starts with just a few hours a week and can often blossom into creating volunteer lead programs. One of our aspiring volunteers is Aviation Structural Mechanic Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Hamilton, of the Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron Two Five. Michael joined USO Andersen back in October 2018 and has generously given more than 300 hours of his spare time to the USO. When he isn’t at USO Andersen, he is participating in the MWR trips or challenging his friends at bowling. His active lifestyle and bubbly personality creates a warm welcome and face for the USO.
When Michael first arrived to the island, he came to the USO to enjoy a bowl of chili and rice while volunteers helped him navigate around the island. “I decided to volunteer at the USO because the people were so welcoming and helpful! I have always had a volunteer mentality prior to volunteering with the USO, but seeing and speaking with volunteers, it became a very attractive option.” Michael states.
Michael grew up in Northern Virginia, and by luck ended up being stationed in Southern Virginia for his first base. Traveling home to see family was a short journey and spending valuable time with them during the holiday season meant a lot to him. Since Michael moved to Guam and joined USO Andersen’s force, he has participated in numerous events including Christmas and Thanksgiving, both of which were extremely memorable for him. These particular events are designed for service members like Michael who’re unable to travel home for the holidays. Michael says “Thanksgiving was my favorite USO program because it genuinely gives both myself and others a sense of family even if it is just for the few hours.”
Michael’s determination to spread the word of the USO has encouraged others to volunteer. His passion has led him to pilot one of our newest USO Andersen Programs called “Adopt Our USO”. Michael gathered approximately 20 volunteers from his squadron to participate in the first ever “Adopt Our USO” that happened on Saturday, March 9th. This gave him and his colleagues the perfect opportunity to bond while running the USO for the day, gain a deeper understanding of our operations, and connect with other service and family members. It also enabled his squadron to share their mission and answer any questions from USO Andersen’s patrons.
Being an active duty service member and volunteer, Michael is continuously honored to meet new retired service members and listen to their stories. These encounters makes his volunteer experience one of a kind. After meeting a retiree who soon became a regular at the USO, they would often chat about their days and Michael would always make sure that this particular guest would always feel at home, making USO Andersen his home away from home. “We would talk about things like the gym and whatever movie he was watching that night.” Michael said. “It felt like we were family discussing our day over dinner.”
We are delighted to have Michael as a volunteer here at USO Andersen.
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