Sports rivals from across the National Capital Region teamed up with the USO of Metropolitan Washington - Baltimore to honor American troops in all branches of service on and off the field.
Over the last year, USO-Metro partnered with the Washington Nationals, Washington Redskins, Monumental Sports and Entertainment, D.C. United, the Baltimore Ravens, Baltimore Orioles and more in order to provide once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for military sports fans.
“Our families and service members absolutely love and truly appreciate the sports partnerships that we have,” said Alexandra Bitonti, the USO-Metro Sports and Corporate Development Specialist.
From new services and experiences at sports games to team visits at USO locations and hospitals, Bitonti said it has been an exciting year.
“It’s been really great to see the growth of these partnerships and how much the sports community really does care and support the military,” said Bitonti.
One of the programs the USO-Metro manages is Ticketline, which connects community organizations, companies and individuals who would like to donate tickets to the local military population, who can register to receive them for free.
TicketLine opportunities are open to active duty, reservist, and active National Guard service members as well as their military dependents (with military ID) within the Washington-Baltimore region.
Sports partners honor the troops during annual tributes and special game-day salutes. In addition, they often go above and beyond to offer active duty service members unforgettable experiences during the game.
After a heated competition between branches at the Ravens Under Armour Performance Center, twelve sailors won the exciting opportunity to run out with the Baltimore Ravens’ starters carrying the flag out of the tunnel before the Salute to Service Game.
USO-Metro was also honored to announce the opening of a new USO-Metro Club in FedExField, sponsored by Lockheed Martin.
“The USO for the military is like the Redskins locker room,” said former Redskins quarterback, Joe Theismann. “It’s a bit like a sanctuary. There’s a select group of people that can go in there and for the USO at Redskins field, it’s for you.”
The lounge is open during Washington Redskins home games and served more than 1,000 active duty sports fans and their families in its first year alone.
It’s not just military members who sacrifice—it’s their families, too. That’s why #DCU, @LeidosInc, and @USOMetroDC teamed up to put on a youth soccer clinic for children of service members at Fort Meade.#DCUSalute pic.twitter.com/FyYVtsczwT— D.C. United (@dcunited) September 12, 2018
It isn’t just the service members who sacrifice, it’s their families too.
Leidos, Mission BBQ and D.C. United sponsored their annual soccer clinic hosted at the USO-Metro at Fort Meade to offer 100 military children a day-long soccer clinic and one-on-one time with D.C. United players.
Additionally, families of active duty service members can sign up their children for activities like running the bases at Washington Nationals through Ticketline announcements.
Special Guests and Visits
USO-Metro was pleased to welcome special guests year-round and help coordinate visits to area bases and hospitals to visit active duty service members.
Teams and special guests visited patients at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, the Caisson Stables in Arlington, Virginia, the Pentagon, and USO-Metro locations throughout the National Capital Region.
Photo: Washington Nationals
“They’re not just engaging with the military inside their stadiums one game a season, but also going out into the community, learning more about the military, military families and just seeing it from the other side,” Bitonti said.
Special sports guests over the last year have also included NFL Hall of Famer, Terry Bradshaw, WWE Hall of Famer Mark Henry, Superstar Lacey Evans, and Ambassador Dana Warrior, NASCAR Legends Richard Petty and Michael Waltrip and Superstars Kurt Busch and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Pack 4 Troops
Several teams partnered with USO-Metro to pack care packages and write letters to troops currently deployed as well.
Bitonti said this included players from Redskins, Ravens, Capitals, D.C. United, and collegiate football teams playing in the Military Bowl.
For the ninth consecutive year, the Military Bowl will provide at least $100,000 to the USO and complimentary tickets will be available for active-duty service members and their families.
The Military Bowl, presented by Northrop Grumman, kicks off on Dec. 31 at noon ET at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, and has donated more than $800,000 to the USO and provided more than 25,000 complimentary tickets for troops and their families since its inception in 2008.
Learn more about how to get involved as a volunteer for these activities at www.usometro.org/support/.
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