USO of North Carolina team shares experience in South Florida after Irma


JACKSONVILLE, Onslow County - A team from the USO of North Carolina just spent a week in South Florida helping the National Guard with post-Hurricane Irma cleanup.

"There was just mountains and mountains of debris, furniture, refrigerators, washers and dryers," said Jeff Weller, Center Coordinator in Jacksonville.

"You go past the trailer parks and there's literally trailers, tractor trailers laying on their side blown over. Boats in the road ... boats in the roads, boats upside down in the water. Total devastation down there."

That devastation is what brought in the National Guard and the USO to assist with relief efforts. Wherever the military is, the USO of North Carolina is there to support them.

"We made one stop down in the (Florida) Keys and totally surprised these guys," Weller said. "There's 35 of them sitting there outside sweating. And we just pulled up in our USO truck and said 'Hey guys, What's going on?' And they're like, 'What? What are you guys doing here?'

"And 'Hey, you want a cold drink?' 'Yeah!' So we load them up with snacks and cold drinks. And socks!" "And socks, clean socks."

That was the whole point of the trip, making the long days in the hot sun a little bit better for the service members deployed in South Florida to help.

"We brought them football on Sunday and Monday after they had done a 12-hour shift," said USO North Carolina Director Holly Coffer. "Just a little bit of comfort of home right there in the middle of a staging area in Florida."

The team said they feel accomplished ... and exhausted.

"We're all really tired but we'd do it again. It's all worth it," Weller said.

Team members said they were not able to budget for the trip so if you'd like to help support the USO of North Carolina in their continued efforts, you can click here to visit their website and to gain more information.

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