Fort Hood Sentinel, 13 November 2008
USO recognizes Volunteer of the Year
By Michael Heckman, Sentinel Staff
It began as an effort to repay the kindness extended by a volunteer to her son. But, after meeting other Soldiers in need of anything from a hot meal to a willing listener, Angela Lockamy, a Lampasas cosmetologist, was hooked on volunteerism.
Her dedication to meeting Soldiers’ needs earned her the USO’s United States Region Volunteer of the Year award, which was presented recently by Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch, III Corps and Fort Hood commander, during the post’s quarterly Hood Hero lunch.
“It’s a sad day when they deploy,” and, in addition to a cup of coffee, snacks or a battery for a cell phone, Soldiers departing from Larkin Terminal at Gray Army Airfield “often just need someone to listen enough to know you care,” Lockamy said.
In addition to helping deploying Soldiers, Lockamy is a coordinator for the USO mobile canteen and drives it to field sites to feed Soldiers biscuits and gravy on Motor Pool Mondays and lunch favorites on Roll Call Fridays.
Sometimes the drive is longer. When Hurricane Ike struck the Texas coast, Lockamy and other volunteers drove the canteen to Galveston, where they fed about 500 people a day for 10 days near a Jamaica Beach fire department.
“We assisted JB and the Missouri City Fire Department with water and ice distribution. Those people were looking for a hot meal, conversation and a place to stop and rest,” Lockamy said.
Lockamy’s career as a volunteer includes work with area Girl Scouts and the Special Olympics. She said her husband, Command Sgt. Maj. Harry Lockamy, 27th Brigade Support Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, is deployed but plans to retire and become a USO volunteer after he finishes his deployment to Iraq.
Her inspiration, she said, springs from the kindness extended to her son, Wesley, by a USO volunteer when Wesley was stationed at Whiteman Air Force Base in Knob Noster, Mo.
“He just felt very alone and isolated and ran into a USO volunteer who made a difference in his life,” Lockamy said.
Many organizations provide blanket support for Soldiers, she added, “But USO has a daily impact on Soldiers’ lives. Just being able to stop and spend five minutes talking to a Soldier and say ‘Hey, I see you; you do matter’ makes a big difference,” she added.
According to Tiane Harrison, manager of media relations for USO World Headquarters in Arlington, Va., Lockamy was selected from more than 44,000 volunteers worldwide.
Annually, each USO region selects a nominee as a USO Volunteer of the Year finalist.
The finalists are selected among five USO operating regions: stateside, affiliates, Europe, Pacific and Southwest Asia. From those finalists, Harrison said, the USO Volunteer of Year is selected.
“Volunteers are nominated based on their commitment to the USO mission and willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty,” Harrison added.