Johnie was selected as USO Europe’s Fall 2019 Volunteer of the Quarter for many reasons. He is a service member who gives his time, he is a hard worker, and his ability to help others is undeniable. Here are some of the things he has done while volunteering at the Warrior Center.
All of the Warrior Center’s patients have had a “first day” at the hospital to address various medical needs, oftentimes arriving after many hours of travel from downrange or distant bases with few belongings and have been surrounded by strangers. Their “first day” experience can be very stressful and discouraging. The relief they feel after walking into the Warrior Center is often palpable by the USO staff and volunteers.
While volunteers and staffers are present to welcome them, Johnie Elsenburg’s greeting and smile – coming from an easily recognizable fellow service member – greatly reduces their burdens and stresses. He tries to determine their needs without calling attention to them. He issues welcome bags to the newcomers and provides toiletries as needed, lends an understanding ear when they want to talk and offers advice from his own experiences when it’s asked of him, and relates to them as a fellow service member.
The meals he has prepared, often at his own expense, have fed dozens of patients and patrons on each occasion, giving them a chance to enjoy a “home-cooked” meal.
Johnie volunteered at the USO Djibouti Center during a temporary duty assignment on the African continent, helping service members even further away from home.
Congratulations for a job well done Johnie. The USO could not do it without people like you that are so dedicated! #BeTheForce
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