Legendary comedian Bob Hope brought international recognition to the USO (United Services Organization) by leading 57 USO entertainment tours overseas for the enjoyment of men and women serving in the U.S. Military during conflicts.
The mission of the USO is to strengthen America’s military service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country, throughout their service to the nation.
Phyllis Cohn, director of USO New England, is doing an outstanding job continuing that mission at the USO Center located inside Terminal C at Logan, along with her diligent work throughout New England organizing the many events and programs that bring together the region’s military service members and their families.
“We are here to support those men and women who are currently serving that are moving through the airport, whether they’re waiting for a plane, they’re stuck because their flight got canceled, or they just want a comfortable place to hang out,” said Cohn.
The center, which has comfortable, rest and relaxation areas and distributes snacks and refreshments free of charge, is a welcomed destination for travelers, but Cohn is facing a critical situation: there is a dire need for volunteers to help staff the center.
“I care deeply about our mission and not just because my son is serving and my father was a veteran,” said Cohn, who formerly worked at the American Red Cross. “Somehow I landed in this unbelievable organization and we are simply here to take care of those who are currently serving.”
However, Cohn needs volunteers to accomplish the center’s mission. She needs greeters at the Logan Airport center and people to help out at special events and in program management.
The USO Center at Logan is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
“We have four shifts during a day and we’re open every day and we do not want to ever have to shut our doors,” said Cohn. “If there’s one service member whose plane is delayed, or who had to take a bus that left him three hours earlier than his flight and needs a place to rest, it’s important we’re here.”
Cohn is assisted at USO New England by two other full-time staffers, Ashley Twigg, programs and operations manager, and Shawna Sylvia, center operations manager.
“The breadth of programs that we’re doing and the expansion of our outreach to really include the National Guard and the places we weren’t fully involved just because of manpower – everything’s done with the assistance of our volunteers,” said Cohn. “The USO is funded by donations. We do get some grants, but we are a non-profit 501c3.”
Cohn said prospective volunteers for the USO Center at Logan Airport can contact the center at volunteers.uso.org. or visit the USO New England Facebook page for more information.