By Janet Goetze
For the Hollywood Star News
The USO Northwest Portland Center, expected to open later this year at the Portland International Airport, will be the grand marshal of the 2013 Ross Hollywood Veterans Day parade Nov. 11.
The USO, which stands for United Service Organizations, will be the first group to serve as the parade’s grand marshal, said Angela McKenzie-Tucker of the sponsoring Ross Hollywood Chapel.
“The USO performs such wonderful work for veterans and the active military,” McKenzie-Tucker said, “that we want to show our support to bring the USO Center to the Portland International Airport.”
President Franklin D. Roosevelt created the USO to support military services in 1941. The participating groups include the Salvation Army, Young Men’s Christian Association, National Catholic Community Services and the National Jewish Welfare Board.
The Port of Portland is providing space at the Portland International Airport for the new USO center.
“Being named grand marshal of this historic parade is an honor for our organization,” said Col. Joe Williams, U.S. Army retired, the head of the campaign to bring the USO to the airport. “We hope our presence will spread the word to more military and veterans about the center and how the community can support it.”
The center’s services, Williams said, will include free computer and wifi use, travel assistance, luggage storage, calling cards, video entertainment and refreshments.
“It will be staffed by the USO’s volunteer ‘Army of Gratitude’ and initially be open year round from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m., seven days a week,” said Williams.