USO volunteers Pat Solomon, left, and Peggy Osse stock up refreshments Wednesday for Marines and sailors from Naval Air Station Pensacola who had been displaced by Tropical Storm Isaac. A group of USO volunteers from Atlanta came down to assist the more than 4,000 personnel who had been sent to Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany to escape the storm.
MCLB-ALBANY, Ga. — The threat of destructive weather along the northern Gulf Coast this week brought more than 4,000 Marines and sailors from Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida to Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany.
While they are aboard the installation, the USO is looking out for them.
The USO had a group of five people from Atlanta come down to help provide for the displaced personnel when they arrived on the base Monday evening.
The group was expected to pack up and leave today, as were the personnel.
Mary Louise Austin, president and CEO of the USO Council of Georgia office, said the group made its way to Albany after getting a call from its headquarters indicating that officials attached to MCLB-Albany were seeking ways to boost morale.
During their stay, the Marines and sailors were provided refreshments, playing cards, board games, paperback books, magazines, among other things. There were even care packages given out containing phone cards and crossword puzzles.
In addition, there were at least two sport utility vehicles that showed up stocked with candy bars.
“(We’ve enjoyed) talking to them, (and hearing about) how appreciative they are,” Austin said. “These are just a few little things, but it breaks the boredom.
“The mood and cooperation (of the service members) has been fantastic.”
The volunteers helping pass out snacks also took note of the positive atmosphere — not only because the personnel were appreciative, but also because they were willing to assist them with getting products unloaded and distributed.
That seemed to mean a lot to at least one of the volunteers, given the circumstances the Marines and sailors were under.
“They are our protectors,” said Pat Solomon. “They are volunteering to take care of all of us. I feel a camaraderie with them.”
From the perspective of those receiving the services, there was plenty of gratitude to go around.
“Everywhere we go, they always help us out,” said Airman Tyler Crull. “All of my experiences with them have been top-notch. I literally can’t think of anything negative to say.”
Airman Apprentice Christopher Vinton was of a similar state of mind.
“They represent our core values,” he said.
Tropical Storm Isaac, which was a Category 1 hurricane when it made landfall near the mouth of the Mississippi River on Tuesday evening, was continuing to produce heavy rain as it moved further inland. The storm is expected to continue to bring rainfall into the Midwest and eastern United States through the Labor Day weekend.