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USO opens new center at Dahlgren
USO opens new location at Dahlgren

 Sons of Air Force Lt. Col. Darren Roberts enjoy the playroom in the new USO Center at Dahlgren.
GARY WAGNER/U. S. NAVY
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Date published: 8/13/2010

By RUSTY DENNEN

Those serving in the military at the Dahlgren Navy base have another venue for rest and relaxation.

United Service Organizations recently opened its newest service center at the Naval Support Facility Dahlgren in King George County.

Located in a one-story bungalow in the base's family housing area, the Dahlgren USO Center features a TV area and movie library, reading lounge and library, computers with Internet connection and a video gaming area. Microsoft Corp. and Lincoln Military Housing donated equipment and materials.

The center also has a food pantry to provide assistance to military families in need. Sesame Street Work Shop will add a "Sesame Room" enrichment center for kids in coming months.

"The challenges our military and their families face today have never been greater," Elaine Rogers, president of USO of Metropolitan Washington, said during the opening ceremony.

"With this center, we hope to make a positive change in that process. We will do it through laughter, through activities and amenities and in ways the USO is known for bringing joy into people's lives."

The Dahlgren center is operated by USO-Metro, a private nonprofit organization that has nearly 5,000 volunteers to serve military personnel in Washington, Maryland and Northern Virginia. It has five centers on military installations in the Washington area and four at airports.

USO-Metro also provides community events, emergency housing and food assistance, holiday programs, and support for troops leaving on deployments and returning home,

Capt. Catherine T. Hanft, commander of the Naval Support Facility Dahlgren, hailed the center as "a unique place for our service members and their families at Dahlgren to call 'a home away from home.'"

USO operates more than 130 centers worldwide, serving 1.4 million active-duty troops and 1.2 million members of the National Guard and Reserves and their families.

Rusty Dennen: 540/374-5431
Email: rdennen@freelancestar.com