Aug 01 2013
Nikki Kimbleton, The Morning Show anchor
Channel 4 and Memorial Hospital issue a giant thank you to everyone who made donations this month for our Positively Jax "Help on the Home Front" campaign.
"You can kind of think of this as the Crown Room for the military, except here they even have stuff you're not going to find in those facilities," said USO Welcome Center Director Jim Bury. "Now there is even more, thanks to your donations."
A total of 5,720 items donated in July come as a relief for Bury. A couple of days ago, supplies were running low. He, more than anyone, sees what difference something as a simple as a candy bar and a Coke can make.
"You know, often times, military families don't have the money to buy snacks or meals at the airport, so we're really their life ring, so to speak," Bury said.
About 3,000 military men and women and their families from around the world come through Jacksonville's airport every month. The USO Welcome Center is located on the lower level at JIA and is open to all military personnel and their families.
"I often say we have dirt from Afghanistan on our floor, and we really do," Bury said.
Thursday morning, just before the donated supplies were delivered, a family of six came in after flying all night.
"They were pretty tired and very thirsty," Bury said. "We were able to give them a cold drink and snacks. And the kids, who were 5 and 6. A lot of people forget that the kids serve, too."
Adam Landau and his team from Memorial Hospital don't forget.
"Our employees really grabbed onto this because they realize how important each and every member of the military is, not just to our country, but to our community," Landau said.
Memorial helped Channel 4 collect all of the food, drinks and toiletries, and they plan to do more in the future. Donations are the only way the USO Welcome Center is able to offer what they do.
"You see what this means to the USO and you see how it can put a smile on a soldiers face," Landau said. "Really is there anything better you can do with that $5 or $10?"