Courageous Hearts: USO provides comfort to those deploying for 1st time

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U.S. Air Force Capt. Chad Ortega-Foster talks to applicants at the Military Entrance Processing Station in Phoenix. (Source: CBS 5) U.S. Air Force Capt. Chad Ortega-Foster talks to applicants at the Military Entrance Processing Station in Phoenix. (Source: CBS 5)
Applicants take the oath at the Military Entrance Processing Station in Phoenix. (Source: CBS 5) Applicants take the oath at the Military Entrance Processing Station in Phoenix. (Source: CBS 5)
The USO provides care kits to get the applicants to their first location. (Source: CBS 5) The USO provides care kits to get the applicants to their first location. (Source: CBS 5)
Jasmyn Countee and her mother, Yvette Williams (Source: CBS 5) Jasmyn Countee and her mother, Yvette Williams (Source: CBS 5)
The USO added two rooms equipped with leather couches, games for kids, candy, lots of tissues, even volunteers to make sure applicants feel right at home. (Source: CBS 5) The USO added two rooms equipped with leather couches, games for kids, candy, lots of tissues, even volunteers to make sure applicants feel right at home. (Source: CBS 5)

By Preston Phillips, CBS 5 AZ

PHOENIX (CBS 5)

All month long, CBS 5 is partnering with Fry's Food Stores to pay it forward to our military families. It's our Courageous Hearts campaign.

We're introducing you to a Valley nonprofit USO that provides comfort and relief, here and nationwide, to young men and women deploying for the first time.

"We don't have the rights and freedoms in our country without men and women like yourselves standing up here taking the oath," said U.S. Air Force Capt. Chad Ortega-Foster at the Military Entrance Processing Station in Phoenix. He was speaking in front of about a dozen young men and women who were making a decision that will shape the rest of their lives.

"You could be on a ship in the middle of nowhere, or you could be in Europe, in Korea, overseas, Iraq or Afghanistan, you have actually no idea what you're getting yourself into," Ortega-Foster said.

With that potentially life-changing uncertainty, comes excitement, anxiety and, for some, tears.

Jasmyn Countee will be serving in the U.S. Air Force. It's unclear when she and her mom, her best friend, will see each other again.

"I'm excited, I'm really excited, not scared, I'm just excited," said Countee, who just enlisted with the U.S. Air Force.

To ease the tension and sometimes long wait times for family members as applicants go through extensive screening, the USO came in with donated dollars and added two rooms equipped with leather couches, games for kids, candy, lots of tissues, even volunteers to make sure they feel right at home.

"You can feel the compassion," said Yvette Williams, Countee's mom. "They care enough about the transition that they are providing not only the time, but the space for them to make this transition. It makes me feel really good."

As the new recruits head out the door, the USO is also there providing these brave young men and women with care kits to get them to their first location.

"Our motto is 'Always By Their Side,'" said Carla Garcia with the USO. 

Only because of your generous donations, is this all possible. Thank you.

This is a month-long event happening at Fry's Food Stores all across the state. You can donate at your local store.

One hundred percent of the proceeds goes to help local military families.

[More stories and information about Courageous Hearts]

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