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It wasn't the North Pole-tinted weather St. Nick might've recognized, but the warmth of the holiday season, led by the USO Metropolitan Washington, which outweighed the chill of the mercury.
In 2013, Christmas came early, thanks the tireless work of the USO Metropolitan Washington’s Project Elf and the generosity of many NJVC employees, lighting up an otherwise unremarkable mid-December morning lit up with the spirit of charity, the way the gifts would eventually light the faces of those who receive them.
NJVC was proud to contribute to the USO Metro’s signature holiday gift-giving campaign, which provides the Christmas wish lists of children of nominated enlisted active duty service members to be fulfilled by corporate partners, like NJVC, and individual donors. For this year’s event, the USO Metropolitan Washington happily announced completion of the lists of all 1,400 children involved in the program.
"NJVC was formed to respond to the needs of our service members, to provide support to their vital missions,” NJVC Communications Director and philanthropic partner lead Dara Dirth said. ”There is no time more support is more vital than during the holiday season, no mission more important than family."
By the time USO Metro pulled into NJVC headquarters, bright red sleigh replaced by modified blue GMC truck, holiday spirit had won out over winter blues, with an outpouring of support from staff to the USO project.
The building’s lobby, its muted yellow walls and cool white floor usually punctuated only by television screens and the footfalls of those in transit, grew full with presents, sitting under, on and around a series of tables set up to accommodate the supply of bicycles, games, books and other gifts. USO volunteers adorned in Santa hats lined up and cataloged every gift.
Like many other corporate partners, NJVC was proud to quickly fulfill its allotment of children’s wishes.
“NJVC is honored to have the opportunity to give back to those who serve us in a meaningful way, and gratified by the rapid and heartfelt response of our employees,” Dirth said.
According to the USO, it marked an exceptionally warm Christmas for all participating in the program. According to USO Metro President Elaine B. Rogers, in a thank-you letter to all donors, "every single child, including those on the wait list, was sponsored."
Gifts were carted away, then piled into Santa-inspired red sacks and distributed to grateful service members at events at Fort Belvoir (Virginia) and Fort Meade (Maryland), to be placed under trees around the Washington metro area.
For NJVC, it was an opportunity once again to help the efforts of the Washington chapter of the USO—the support organization for the military, which traces its roots back to World War II. NJVC gladly worked alongside the organization for numerous events in 2012 and 2013, and eagerly looks forward to doing so in the coming year.
At NJVC, support of service members and their families is seen as a fulfillment of basic company goals.
For the USO, it’s a fulfillment of the obligation each of us owe to our service members, supporting our troops in the holiday season and beyond, in theater and at home.
And thanks to the USO, Santa would always feel right at home, this day, and every day.