Ralph & Noel Burr (left side) Michele Chapdelaine, (back row right side) Kathy O'Donnell, Brian Walrath
It’s 2pm on Monday. I open the door and walk inside the room. Music plays quietly in the background. Five volunteers sort donations at the USO site in Brainbridge, Ohio.
Michele Chapdelaine says, ” I’m here in Jeff’s honor. My son serves, and I joined the USO so I can serve. ” Michele’s son, Jeff is currently deployed to Afghanistan.
Noel Burr, author of “What’s a Mother to Do?” in Love You More Than You Know, and her husband Ralph, a retired Army Colonel, help run this site. Noel and Ralph started packing boxes at the Chagrin Falls Armory in 2003 when their daughter Kathy was deployed to Kuwait. These parents continue to be involved with the USO. Noel says, “It makes us feel connected.”
Kathy O’Donnell told me her husband, Admiral Bill O’Donnell, was in the Reserves for 32 years. “I volunteer at the USO because I’m an American and want these guys and gals to be taken care of !
Brian Walrath carries boxes into the room. “I was one of those kids 40 years ago and thought I would do something for these kids today.”
Thank you to these volunteers and all those who give back by supporting our troops. Donations for this USO site can be dropped off at Highway Garage, 8410 E. Washington, Chagrin Falls, Ohio 44023. There is a box inside the door marked “Donations”. Highway Garage is open weekdays 8:30am-6pm; Sat 9am-12pm.
Note: Noel says,” All we need is an address and the estimated date of returning home. We love what we do. Donations of toiletries and snack foods gratefully accepted. Anyone can stop by and see what we do on Mon or Wed at 2pm to 3pm.”