Servicemembers support Team USA during 2012 Olympic, Paralympic Games
By Senior Airman Jerilyn Quintanilla, 100th Air Refueling Wing
/ Published July 31, 2012
LONDON -- More than 300 members from U.S. Visiting Forces military bases across the United Kingdom volunteered to help the U.S. Olympic Committee in preparation for the upcoming 2012 Olympic Games.
Volunteers, including active duty service members, civilian employees and family members, signed up for opportunities in the weeks before and throughout the duration of the games.
"I volunteered because it's a once in a lifetime opportunity," said Senior Airman Christopher Hughes, 100th Civil Engineer Squadron. "I was able to participate in one of the biggest events of the year, one that the entire world is watching."
Volunteers from the bases were divided between USA House hospitality duties and the team processing station, where they organized team apparel for distribution assisted athletes with uniform fittings, and provided support for USA House daily operations. The military community's support for Team USA has not gone unnoticed.
"They have worked super hard. They get the job done; they're organized; they listen to direction. They have been fabulous," said Katie Clifford, Team USA processing director. "I don't think we could have pulled this off if we didn't have the military with us."
Soon after the Olympic Games wrap up, the Paralympics are scheduled to kick off. Again, Team USA is looking to U.S. military families for support. At this time, the USOC still has more than half of its critical volunteer positions yet to be filled.
"We want to make every effort possible to fill these mission-critical roles in support of the Paralympics," said Maj. Rye Whitehead, U.S. Air Forces in Europe - United Kingdom political military advisor, who is heading up the Olympics volunteer efforts. "This is a once-in-a-life time opportunity to get involved in history, as well as support support our paralympians, many of whom are veterans and wounded warriors."
Volunteer opportunities at the Paralympic Games include: Team processing set up, hospitality, operations at the Friends and Family Center and apparel sorting.
Those interested in volunteering for the Paralympics should contact their unit Paralympics volunteer coordinators by Aug. 15.