A pizza party might seem small in the face of a global pandemic and holidays spent in quarantine overseas, far from loved ones, but it’s moments like these that brighten the long days of our nation’s service members. Photo Credit: Jade Nikkole Photography
Service members deployed to Germany must quarantine upon arrival. Doing so over the holidays can put a strain on morale, which is why the USO is there to support. Photo Credit: Jade Nikkole Photography
A slice a day keeps the blues away – or at least that’s USO Kaiserslautern’s philosophy. This afternoon, the USO Kaiserslautern team of staff and volunteers has laid out a pizza party for service members currently under quarantine in Kaiserslautern, Germany. The event adhered to COVID-19 safety regulations and masked service members are loading up plates of pizza and dessert, as well as chatting briefly with USO volunteers as they move down the food line.
Thanks to COVID-19, after a long flight across the Atlantic Ocean, service members who land in Kaiserslautern, Germany, must promptly make their way to the Deployment Processing Center (DPC) for a mandatory quarantine. For the next 14 days, these service members must stay in quarantine in temporary barracks at the DPC before safely proceeding to their new duty station.
Being stationed somewhere new and moving overseas can put a strain on service members even under normal circumstances, but due to the global pandemic, they must also tackle the stress and isolation of quarantine. This can be especially difficult during the holidays, when service members are also separated from their family and friends during this special season.
So, because these newcomer service members are in quarantine and cannot go to the USO just yet – the USO has decided to go to them.
Throughout their 14 days in quarantine, the USO team will provide service members with snacks, coffee, games and free Wi-Fi so that they can chat with their loved ones or just take a moment to relax on their own. But most importantly, having a constant USO presence within the DPC provides service members with a friendly (masked!) face to turn to, in addition to a break from their daily quarantine routine.
“The USO embedded in the Deployment Processing Center allows us to connect service members to home,” Area Operations Manager Casey Pizzuto said. “And USO Kaiserslautern has quickly adapted to these incoming service member’s needs.”
Aside from the welcome bags usually presented to service members upon their arrival to the DPC, the USO team is also providing the newcomers with USO Care Packages, which include toiletry kits and snack packs to help them during the 14 days. Service members have even enjoyed morale-boosting activities such as a video call with actor and director Andy Garcia – and, of course, pizza parties, like the one today.
Something as simple as a pizza party might seem small in the face of a global pandemic and a deployment to a new duty station, but it’s moments like these that can all the difference in lifting the spirits of service members in quarantine over the holidays.
“Thank you to the USO for their unwavering, continuous support,” a service member named Douglas A. LeVien said. “In Europe, the USO provides sources of entertainment, hospitality and connection to family for our Army Reserve soldiers transitioning to and from mobilizations through the Deployment Processing Center (DPC), and to Active, Reserve and Guard soldiers and their families arriving in Europe. The USO also provides a volunteer network, community and support groups to those soldiers and family members in Europe. The USO’s steadfast support contributes to the overall strength of our fighting force and the families who support them.”
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