Sherry Taylor is a busy registered nurse, but she makes time every week to help support a unique program that is close to her heart.
Sherry volunteers at the United Service Organization (USO) center at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. There, military members and their families receive travel assistance and enjoy access to the comforts of home 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Each month it serves more than 8,000 service members and their families, reservists and retired military.
“The USO has served military families for 75 years, but my reason for becoming a volunteer is very personal,” said Sherry, an oncology-infusion nurse at Virginia Mason Federal Way Medical Center. “The USO has been so helpful to my son, a U.S. Navy pilot and his family when they have been traveling. Volunteering is my way of saying ‘thank you’ to the USO.”
The USO center provides around-the-clock meals and snacks, five big screen TVs, a bunk room and lounge, showers, free Internet access and a separate family-friendly room. (Learn more about the USO-NW SeaTac Center at www.usonw.org/seatac.php.)
National Nurses Week is May 6 through May 12, when businesses, organizations and communities across the country are encouraged to celebrate nurses. As Sherry exemplifies, the contributions of nurses often extend beyond the walls of hospitals and medical clinics.
A nurse for about 44 years who has also been a practicing psychologist, Sherry’s support of others in difficult times is a calling as much as it is a career. “I have the privilege of being there for others during their time of need. I just love people,” she said.
The USO works in partnership with the U.S. Department of Defense but relies on private contributions and on funds, goods and services from corporate and individual donors. The USO, which is not a government agency, operates 160 centers worldwide.
“It is rewarding and fulfilling to support a program that benefits military members when they are far from home and their loved ones,” said Sherry.