Have a cupcake
Seven-year-old JJ and Skylee, 6, Aguirre receive cupcakes with their mom, Jessica, from a volunteer at the USO Fort Hood's 20th birthday celebration at Fort Hood, Texas, Aug. 7. (Photo Credit: Megan Skipper, Fort Hood Public Affairs) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT HOOD, Texas - The United Service Organizations Fort Hood celebrated 20 years of service at the Great Place with a birthday celebration, Aug. 7, and presented 175 free backpacks to youth, kindergarten through fifth grade.

To help give back to the Fort Hood community, the USO set up several stations with different activities, freebies and refreshments. Some of these activities included face painting and corn hole games, where participants attempt to toss a bean bag through a hole on a wooden board from a distance.

Lemonade and cupcakes were also handed out as part of the USO’s birthday celebration, coupled with the beginning of a new school year on Fort Hood. To receive a backpack, families had to pre-register through the USO with how many children would be attending, as well as present a valid military ID upon arrival.

Isabel Hubbard, executive director of USO Fort Hood, explained that the USO’s mission is provide families with the opportunity to spend quality time together.

“The mission for the USO is to strengthen our military families by keeping them together, so this (event) is just one iteration of making that happen. You know, our families are separated, through deployments or training. Anytime we can have them come together as a family, that’s what these events are for,” Hubbard said.

Putting things together behind the scenes as well as running things on the front end, were about 20 USO volunteers. They helped to put together booths, make decorations, set up a sound system, hand out refreshments or back packs and check people in. Volunteers donned birthday hats as they ran each station.

Punch cards were handed out to families with a slot for each booth offered. As attendees made their rounds, the slot for the accompanying booth was punched on their card.

USO Fort Hood volunteers Theodora Norteye and Lakia McMillan prepare to serve lemonade and iced tea to attendees of the organization's celebration of two decades of service to Fort Hood, Texas, Aug. 7. (Photo Credit: Megan Skipper, Fort Hood Public Affairs) VIEW ORIGINAL

“My favorite part of planning is just getting all the volunteers together and getting them excited about what they are doing. They don’t think what they’re doing is important, but I really want them to know that it is. Everything that they do is important,” Hubbard said.

For anyone interested in volunteering at the USO, a new volunteer orientation will be taking place Aug. 24 from 6-7:30 p.m. at the USO, 761st Tank Battalion Avenue, Bldg. 121. Registration can be completed online at volunteers.uso.org.

The next big event the USO has coming up is a Trunk or Treat. This will be taking place on Oct. 29, at a soon to be determined time, in the USO parking lot. To stay up to date on events at USO Fort Hood, visit their Facebook page at #https://www.facebook.com/USOFortHood.