Thank you for your interest in volunteering with the USO. Volunteers are our greatest asset and the backbone of the USO. The USO Greater Los Angeles Area Airport Centers are staffed by over 500 volunteers who each bring their own special skills to our organization.
Whether helping a soldier with a connecting flight, distributing a Care Package, serving snacks with a smile, providing local information, or "welcoming home" troops from deployment, volunteers are vital to the success of the USO’s mission. While the duties of a volunteer may vary, the goal is always the same – to improve the quality of life of service members, to boost their morale and to serve as the link between service members and the American people.
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer at one of our Airport Centers, please submit a form below or contact us!
Each Wednesday, USO Greater Los Angeles Area profiles one of our many dedicated volunteers.
April 17, 2013: Mark Blubaugh - Bob Hope Hollywood USO at LAX
If you ever need to find someplace to film a movie, Mark Blubaugh is your man. A location scout, Mark became a volunteer five years ago when his nephew was deployed to Iraq. Mark is one of over 200 volunteers who make sure our Bob Hope Hollywood USO at LAX stays open 24/7 to welcome guests around the clock. Thanks Mark!
April 10, 2013: Mike Avalos - Ontario International Airport
Mike Avalos, one of our expert shift leaders, started volunteering at our Ontario International Airport Center in 2009. If Mike looks familiar, you probably caught a glimpse of him in the Jeep Super Bowl commercial – he is a star! Mike is an Army veteran and his son Brian followed in his dad's footsteps. In August 2011 Mike's son Brian was injured by an IED and lost his left eye and had severe damage to his left arm and shoulder. We are happy to report that Brian is on the road to recovery and hopes to re-enlist! Thanks Mike, for being a volunteer and, more importantly, for being an Army dad!
Sandy Sticco, seen here in her role as master of the electric grill while creating one of our famous grilled sandwiches, is a three year volunteer. Sandy, who volunteers at our Bob Hope Hollywood USO at LAX, was once an Air Force nurse anesthetist and “found” our USO through the local Chamber of Commerce. When she isn't making sure that our guests are never hungry, you can find her busy dancing up a storm as Queen of the National Smooth Dancers, Los Angeles Chapter. Thanks Sandy!
March 20, 2013: Jim Sandles - Ontario International Airport
Being in the military is a family business. Just ask our five year Ontario Airport volunteer Jim Sandles. All eight of his brothers, as well as Jim, served in uniform, fighting in WWII, Korea and Vietnam. We are happy to report all of them returned safely. A Vietnam vet, Jim, like many, remembers what it was like to come home and dedicates his USO service to making sure all our troops feel welcome and appreciated. Thanks Jim!
March 6, 2013: Gary Schobel - Ontario International Airport
After a 24 year career with the U.S. Army, Gary Schobel enlisted in another job he loves: USO Volunteer. He has been a regular at our Ontario Center since 2011. Gary has fond memories of the USO when he was on active duty and so does his son, who carried on the family tradition and currently serves in the Army. In this photo Gary was entertaining 5 year-old Charlie, while Charlie's pregnant mom and little sister took a nap. They had just arrived from Germany where Charlie's dad is stationed. Gary had a blast shooting baskets and playing Foosball with his new little friend. We could hear them laughing together throughout the center. Thanks Gary!
February 27, 2013: Ray Schum - Palm Springs International Airport
A favorite of the young Marines who visit our Palm Springs Airport Center, SgtMaj Ray Schum, USMC (Ret), revels visitors in stories of war in the Pacific. He fought in the Battle of Guadalcanal, among other major engagements, and saw action in Korea too. At 91 years old Ray has the honor of holding our #2 spot for oldest volunteer at Palm Springs Center by 3 months. You can find him holding court in the canteen surrounded by eager guests. He reminds us all of the proud heritage of the United States Marine Corps and truly personifies the ethos of "once a Marine, always a Marine!" Thanks Ray!
February 20, 2013: Chris Branam - Ontario International Airport
Chris Branam, an Air Force veteran, has been a volunteer at our Ontario Airport center since 2009. In addition to his routine shift, Chris is a go-to volunteer for large troop movements, and has spent entire nights at the center to keep it open if a flight is canceled and the troops need to overnight. Chris is also our Grill Master. He cooks a mean hot dog! If he's not at the USO, you can find him riding with the Patriot Riders or at the American Legion! Thanks Chris!
February 13, 2013: Curt Blount - Palm Springs International Airport
Curt Blount is somewhat of a legend around the Palm Springs Center for his "hobby" as a Competition BBQ Champion on the Kansas City BBQ Circuit. He and 7 of his competition friends shared their delicious talents with about 1,000 lucky Navy Sailors and their families at 29 Palms over the holidays. Curt enjoys hanging out with the troops as they pass through the center but he always seem to have a bigger smile when he's feeding them BQB. Thanks Curt!
February 6, 2013: The Cole Family - Bob Hope Hollywood USO at LAX
Every Wednesday, USO Greater LA profiles one of our over 500 volunteers. But in this case, it is ONE FAMILY! Jeff, Kathy, Caitlin, Rylie and Regan Cole are all volunteers at the Bob Hope Hollywood USO at LAX! A Marine Corps family - Jeff is a retired colonel - the Coles bring new meaning to "family night out" when they staff the USO! Along with working regular shifts, Jeff is our defacto IT Manager and Kathy tracks major inbound troop movements so we are always prepared to welcome service members, no matter if they come in a compact car or a half dozen coach buses! Thanks Cole Family!
January 30, 2013: Christina Pong - Bob Hope Hollywood USO at LAX
For those lucky enough to be in the Bob Hope Hollywood USO around lunchtime on Fridays, volunteer Christina Pong prepares grilled sandwiches with gourmet bread donated by our friends at Schat's Bakery and Panera Bread Co. Christina has been a volunteer for some eight years. When she is not in our kitchen, she is busy raising money for us at local farmer’s markets and car clubs. Thanks Christina!
January 23, 2013: Dory Dunn - Palm Springs International Airport
In 1941, only a few months after our founding, 20-year old Dory Dunn walked across the street from her army job and volunteered at the USO on base. "The very same day, I got my job with the Army and went right across the street to the USO and signed myself up."
She recalls "There were 10 of us sorority girls and they would send in buses on Saturday night and we would get all dressed up and go dance with the service men. It was always a long evening gown, that's what girls wore in those days. You could dance with them, have coffee and donuts with them but you couldn't go out with them. Those were the fun times, those Saturday night dances. We would be bused and chaperoned to different Army facilities. I was only 20. We went by bus and came home by bus, we couldn't even go outside the building with them. We were very well chaperoned. Afterwards it was onto the bus and taken back home!"
Some 72 years later, Dory is still volunteering at the USO, with our dedicated team at Palm Springs International Airport. Thanks Dory!
January 16, 2013: LaVonia Margala - Ontario International Airport
LaVonia Margala has been with our center at Ontario International Airport since 2007, just after it opened. Wanting to give back, and finding herself with time after her husband's passing, she chose to volunteer at the USO. In the beginning when we were still recruiting volunteers, she often staffed the USO alone. One day with the surprise arrival of over 150 soldiers, a worried volunteer looked at LaVonia and asked "What do we do now??" "I have been a mother plenty long, I can make food for all of them," she said. And she did. Thanks LaVonia!
January 9, 2013: Mary Walker - Bob Hope Hollywood USO at LAX
At 4'8" and tipping the scales at 95 pounds, our dynamo eight-year volunteer Mary Walker is a huge presence at our Bob Hope Hollywood USO at LAX. Being almost 90 years young doesn't stop her from showing up each and every Tuesday to make sure that all our hungry guests get her signature PB&J sandwich. Mary doesn't much like Facebook, but she loves every single troop that walks through our doors! Thanks Mary!!