Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

November 8, 2014 at 11:11pm

Seahawks mural unveiled at new USO Northwest Center at SeaTac Airport

Servicemembers from local military branches posed in front of a large-scale 12th Man flag that hid a new Seattle Seahawks mural for an unveiling at the new USO Northwest SeaTac Center Nov. 7. Photo credit: Gary Lott

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At Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Sgt. 1st Class Bryant Hargrove spends long days recruiting new members for the U.S. Army.

At home, Hargrove's wife spends long nights trying to recruit the soldier into the 12th Man army.

"It's always a great experience going to Seahawks games and I'm coming along," said Hargrove. "I may not be a fully-converted fan just yet, but I've been supporting the 12th man a little more than my friends and family expect."

He was one of the dozens of servicemembers from all branches present for the Seahawks mural unveiling at the new USO Northwest Center at the SeaTac International Airport Center Friday, Nov. 7.

>>> Sgt. 1st Class Bryant Hargrove, a U.S. army recruiter based at JBLM, shows off some of the new Bose speakers and other Seahawks swag donated for the Internet Café inside the new USO Northwest SeaTac Airport Center. Photo credit: Gary Lott

It's hard to ignore the excitement of Seahawks football.

"It just shows support. I remember when I was in Iraq and my XO was still the biggest Seahawks supporter," said Hargrove. "Knowing that we get all that support back and that the entire organization recognizes the military and all that we do, is truly special."

The theme of community, bonding and support is front and center in the halls of the new USO center.

>>> A U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Northwest member takes a moment to reflect on the USO "Every Moment Counts" campaign at USO Northwest SeaTac Center Nov. 7. The campaign honors servicemembers and highlight the moments that matter most for troops and their loved ones. Photo credit: Gary Lott

>>> Each tile on this wall represents some form of remembrance and/or contribution made to the new 7,500 sq. ft. USO Northwest SeaTac Airport Center. Photo credit: Gary Lott

"It's a community bonding event," said Staff Sgt. Charles Spencer of the Washington National Guard while tightly gripping a signed Doug Baldwin football. "There are a lot of fans in this area and a lot of military members, so it's nice to overlap the two and see the outpouring level of support for the military and local community."

These types of high-exposure events work well at shining some light on military efforts.

"It highlights some of the important things that just a small portion of our United States military does for us," said Spencer. "The Seahawks constantly help to bring those to the forefront."

>>> Staff Sgt. Charles Spencer of the Washington National Guard joins Seagal cheerleaders in front of a 12s Seahawks-supporting flag. Photo credit: Gary Lott

>>> Servicemembers from local military branches posed in front of a large-scale 12th Man flag that hid a new Seattle Seahawks mural for an unveiling at the new USO Northwest SeaTac Center Nov. 7. Photo credit: Gary Lott

If it were up to the USO Northwest Center staff, they would've had thousands of people attend the mural unveiling, but decided to keep some of the surprises for the grand opening in February 2015.

"We were debating on if we should have 3,000 or just 300 people here for this event, but we decided to stick with 300 since we will be unveiling the whole center here in a couple of months."

>>> Tech Sgt. Conner Welborn of Joint Base Lewis-McChord smiles with his two little Seahawk supporters during a Seahawks mural unveiling event at the USO Northwest SeaTac Airport Center Nov. 7. Photo credit: Gary Lott

USO Northwest at SeaTac International Airport Center will host a grand opening celebration in February 2015.

"I'm standing here with Blitz (the Seahawks Mascot) and it's a wonderful moment for the USO," said USO Northwest Executive Director Don Leingang. "When we moved here, we knew that we are never moving again."

Liengang was referring to the new USO Northwest Center down the hall from the existing one at SeaTac Airport.

"We're gonna be here forever and forever happens only because you have great partners," he added.

The USO staff was ready to upgrade in size.

"We were busting at the seams," said Bill Baker, Service Center manager for the USO Northwest Center.  

Through an agreement and donation from the Port of Seattle, the center will open up in a new, 7,500 square foot center to better support the movements and travels of more than 100,000 servicemembers every year.

>>> A Super Bowl ring magically finds its way on a Coast Guard servicemember's finger at the new USO Northwest SeaTac Center. The Seahawks adopted the U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Northwest as their military service branch for 2014. Photo credit: Gary Lott

"(Seattle Seahawks) is an organization that supports the troops," said Baker. "Their Salute to Service campaign for this month is providing 10 percent of all proceeds from Salute to Service clothing wear back to the USO Northwest. It's just a way for them to say thank you for the service that our servicemembers do - day in and day out. They know that we will be here to do that 24/7 and that this community really does value and support the service that they do for our country, day in and day out."

Filed under: USO, Army, National Guard, Ceremony, Sports,
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News and entertainment from Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s most awesome weekly newspapers - The Ranger, Northwest Airlifter and Weekly Volcano.

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