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Sunday, Dec 21, 2014
Brandon News

USO comes to the rescue for MacDill kids — with help from Kmart

Barbara Routen
Special Correspondent

Published:

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When funding was cut this year for school supplies for the more than 600 students who are children of active-duty military personnel at MacDill Air Force Base, USO Central Florida was contacted for help.

Mary Zolna, of Valrico, vice chairwoman of USO Central Florida’s board of directors, reached out to the Brandon Kmart manager, Tim Burton.

“He came through with flying colors,” said Zolna.

Kmart gave “a $1,000 gift card to be used to purchase school supplies,” said Burton, who also set up donation boxes in the store so employees and customers can fill them with purchased school items during August.

“Mary had contacted me in regards to supporting them with school supplies for the base,” said Burton. “Apparently they had lost funding and had a short window to make all of this happen. I reached out to my district manager, Jeffrey Nanace, and my regional vice president, William Ellis, who did not hesitate in authorizing me to accommodate the USO’s needs. Mary came in and we were able to get everything they needed.”

The donation was presented to Zolna in July by Brandon Kmart’s assistant store manager Latonya Peoples, Burton, operations manager Victor Pecotte and assistant store manager Gary Norman.

USO Center Manager Amy Phillips distributed school supplies July 26 on MacDill Air Force Base at a Back to School Fair that about 1,400 people attended.

The USO Central Florida welcomes volunteers willing to serve and support America’s military and families at the USO Welcome Center at Tampa International Airport, the USO Day Room at the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital and elsewhere. Visit us.uso.org/central florida or call (813) 676-4311 for additional information.

Send news of community interest to Barbara.Routen@gmail.com.

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