The USO hasn't been around very long in the Quad Cities but is making an impact - one solider at a time.
This past January, the USO unveiled its newly expanded center. It's filled with creature comforts, including an xbox and plenty of candy.
"The USO serves the person behind the uniform," says Alison Ruble, President and CEO of USO of Illinois. "So even though they're wearing a uniform, they're a human being like you or I."
But past these sugary treats is a support structure that soldiers, like First Sergeant Luther Kirby, say is irreplaceable for them and their families.
"Just a link to the military and to those who are sharing the same goals, the same pains, that their family members are deployed and have a fellowship with those going through similar situations," says Kirby.
Since 2001, much of the privately funded USO's dollars have gone toward helping those deployed.
"When you are deployed, they send gift packages stuff that you need," says Spc. Jason Eckert. "It's always nice to get any kind of support whenever you can get it."
But much of their volunteer work now is geared toward the future with draw-downs continuing.
"There are many military, due to this new fiscal reality, some of them will be transitioning out earlier than they expected, so we see this place as a proactive resource for them as they consider their next life choice," Ruble adds.
Whatever the need may be, soldiers say it's comforting seeing someone who always has your back.
"It helps bring people together and closer," says Spc. Brandon Wilson.
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