USO Hawaii honors service members

The six military honorees pose with military and USO leadership during the Salute to Service Gala, Oct. 20.

Compiled by Hookele Staff

A U.S. Air Force Airman and a U.S. Navy Sailor were among six service members recognized by USO Hawaii during the 2018 Salute to Service Gala at the Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina in Honolulu, Oct. 20.

This black-tie event featured entertainment, dinner, award presentations and dancing.

The military honorees included Airman First Class Jasmine Blunt, Spc. Conor Mc-Duffie, Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Michael Uzleber, Cpl. Kevin Valentia, U.S. Coast Guard Aviation Maintenance Technician 2nd Class Nicholas Fuist and Hawaii National Guard Sgt. Kieu Vo.

“We appreciate those who are helping us present the Salute to Service Gala and the work we do in Hawaii to support military members and their families,” said Alesha Burkeen, area operations manager of USO Hawaii.

Blunt is a client systems technician with Cyber Support, 56th Air Communications Squadron, 613th Air Operations Center, Pacific Air Forces Command, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

The Winnsboro, Louisiana native enlisted in the Air Force in 2017. According to her bio, she is “part of a nine-person team charged with maintaining the 613th Air Operations Center’s $37 million weapon system that provides air superiority to 52 percent of the world.”

“It is an honor to receive this award,” Blunt said. “I’m thankful to have great mentors, leadership and a strong family to support me throughout my career. God has equipped us to do good work. I will continue to work hard and strive to be the best Airman I can be. I am proud to serve in the world’s greatest Air Force.”

Uzleber is a surgery technician at 21st Dental Company, at Marine Corps Base Hawaii.

As he reaches his sixth year in the Navy, Uzleber said he has learned a great deal and was able to travel to 12 countries. But for Uzleber, Hawaii is paradise and it was a dream to be stationed here.

“I am still in awe every day I drive through the Pali tunnel,” he said.

Uzleber was descibed in his bio as “an asset to his company through his innovative efforts to streamline patient care scheduling and striving for excellence by completing two national certification courses.”

As a child playing sports, Uzleber recalled his coaches were service members, and he was inspired to volunteer. He also recalled having a good experience at the Philadelphia USO before he headed for boot camp.

“So when a friend invited me to start volunteering here I jumped at the opportunity and it’s been great ever since.”

He has volunteered 136 hours this year through USO Hawaii and the USO Honolulu Airport Center.

Uzleber said being recognized by USO was humbling.

“I had many people tell me ‘this is your night’ and I am not one to seek that attention,” he said. “My parents raised me to be a hard worker and that’s the mentality I try to have every day. So I was completely in shock and honored when (Juliet Bucayu-Domingo, USO Hawaii area director) emailed me. I am even more grateful for friends and shipmates I was able to have this experience with. I am a firm believer (that) it’s not always about the experience but who you are with and I am thankful they were able to take part in this night.”

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks
  • email
  • RSS

Category: News