Holiday Candy Grams from USO Schofield Connect Families and Service Members at U.S. Army Garrison Hawaii

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Military Service Member poses for a photo to send home after receiving his holiday candy gram.

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USO Schofield's staff member delivering a candy gram to a military member at the flight line.

This year’s holiday season looked a little different due to COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns. USO Schofield made it a priority to spread some holiday cheer.

** USO’s Mission** The USO’s mission is to strengthen America’s military members by keeping them connected to family, home, and country; to be a home away from home. To keep the military members stationed at Schofield Barracks and Wheeler Army Airfield connected to their families and to spread some holiday cheer, USO Schofield implemented a new program. The Candy Gram program provides an opportunity for family members to wish their military service members stationed in Hawaii a happy holiday. Families submitted a request form to USO Schofield, and a staff member coordinated delivery to their place of work. Bringing great cheer, USO Schofield surprised the military member with their brothers and sisters in arms by bringing a candy cane, a handwritten holiday card that included a sweet message from their families, and a very special USO Holiday Care Package. The program focused on keeping military members connected to their families by delivering the candy gram and sending a picture of their service member back home.

Across Schofield Barracks and Wheeler Army Airfield, USO delivered 58 candy grams to service members in over 20 different companies. At each delivery, fellow service members applauded and cheered for the recipient, happy to see one of their own receiving a thoughtful gesture from home. USO Schofield also brought coffee and gourmet cookies to share with the recipient’s fellow service members. The candy gram program created a real sense of camaraderie among the military members.

Captain Jordan Baker from A Co., 1-27IN, 2IBCT states, “The USO staff provided an incredible opportunity and experience during a time that can be difficult on our Soldiers. We cannot thank them enough for the support they provide to our service members.” Staff Sergeant Mike Bayles from A co., 2-35IN, 3IBCT also shares, “The Candy Gram program is a great way to reach our service members during the holiday season, at a time when we are separated from family and friends. As a leader, it makes my day to see them excited when they receive little gifts like that when their families can’t visit them in person. Thanks again for this amazing program.”

Not only were leaders expressing appreciation, but families also voiced joy and gratitude. One mother, Dawn Cooley, reached out and shares, “Thank you so much! It means a lot to us that you would do this for our kids.” Another mother, Lisa Matthews, states, “Thank YOU so much!! And thank you for all that you all do for our Soldiers! I cannot thank you enough. It means the world to me!”

One mother, Mary Scheer, emphasized and exemplified the USO’s mission saying, “Thank you SO much!! I got a call from him this evening telling me that I’m the best mom ever and that this package made his entire week! Ms. Scheer stated this is his first time being away from family and, we haven’t seen each other since March. So, I know this made him feel very special.”

The impact the Candy Gram program has created can be seen from across the military community and, especially, by those families across the ocean at “home.” Due to great success, USO Schofield will be facilitating this program throughout the year for other holidays to continue to keep military members connected with their family, home, and country.

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