For more than a year, the American military has served steadfastly on the front lines of the pandemic – assisting millions of their fellow citizens by administering vaccines, virus testing, and providing other critical needs.
The United Service Organization (USO) encourages people to show their appreciation for the military’s efforts during the pandemic – and year-round – by participating in its 11th annual T-Shirt Campaign.
Throughout Military Appreciation Month in May, the USO invites the public to donate $29 or more to receive their “Official Uniform of the Military Supporter” – a limited-edition T-shirt voted on by American service members around the world. Donations raised will help the USO provide morale-boosting entertainment, care packages, resources for military families, career transition services, and other programming.
To donate and receive a T-shirt, visit USO.org/Tshirt.
“The USO has been by our military’s side for 80 years,” said USO CEO and President J.D. Crouch II. “Wearing this T-shirt shows you are joining in our mission of supporting our brave service members and their families. It shows you care, demonstrating true appreciation for our Armed Forces’ dedication to their country.”
Former Marine Corps Reservist Kit Hinrichs designed this year’s T-shirt. The award-winning graphic artist’s military background and decades of experience in the visual arts, as recognized by notable institutions like the Museum of Modern Art and the Library of Congress, made him a perfectly suited designer.
“America’s military wears the American flag proudly on its uniform, and it was the inspiration for this one-of-a-kind shirt,” said Hinrichs. “Just like our service members, those wearing the shirt can show their pride in the military, the American flag, and the country it represents.”
In addition to the military’s efforts in fighting the invisible foe of COVID-19, service members have been more engaged in supporting new missions in the United States and around the world. These include extended call-ups for the National Guard, longer deployments, and engagements with new global threats.
“On USO tours, I’ve seen how much a smile, a conversation, a joke or a high-five can mean to a service member,” said Valderrama. “The USO is all about creating meaningful moments and making important connections and the T-Shirt Campaign is one way Americans can join in and support this special mission to strengthen our military.”
Both Valderrama and Pickler are USO tour veterans who have visited troops in nearly 20 international locations combined.
“The military community faces so much more than we see on a daily basis,” said Pickler. “That’s why it is so important for us to do our part to help them stay strong. This campaign is about so much more than a T-shirt. It’s about giving toward a mission that serves those who serve us all, and it’s about proudly showing your gratitude.”