Working with USO Part of Their Life

Ralph & Noel Burr (left side) Michele Chapdelaine, (back row right side) Kathy O'Donnell, Brian Walrath

Ralph & Noel Burr (left side) Michele Chapdelaine, (back row right side) Kathy O’Donnell, Brian Walrath

A special thank you to Noel and Ralph Burr for their work with the USO Northern Ohio. Noel Burr, volunteer coordinator for the Bainbridge USO, wrote a chapter, “What’s a Mother To Do?” in our book, Love You More Than You Know. Her husband, Ralph is a retired Army Colonel. Noel and Ralph started packing boxes at the Chagrin Falls Armory in 2003 when their daughter, Kathy was deployed to Kuwait.

The Burrs are a military family. Two daughters served in the Air Force and another daughter in the Army. Making their grandparents proud, two grandchildren now serve in the Air Force. All deployed family members commented on how important it is to receive packages.

In an article by Joan Demirjian in the Chagrin Valley Times, Mrs. Burr says, “We all work to keep a little bit of home going to the troops. We are in need of beef jerky, nuts, canned tuna or chicken, individual packages of soup and cereal, socks, Q-tips, shaving cream, and gel razors, travel-size bay wipes, hand sanitizer and sunscreen.” Noel said, “We like to include cards and letters in the packages as well.”

Donations can be dropped off at any time at a donation site inside the front door of Highway Garage at 8410 E. Washington Street or at the packaging office, 16706 Chillicothe Road on Wednesdays 1:30-3:30pm.

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Giving Back

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.”