Reaching Out: Bob & Kathy O’Reilly of USO Missouri
meet volunteers bob & kathy o’reilly of st. charles
How long have you been volunteers?
Bob | I’ve been involved since I retired in 2006, and Kathy joined after she retired in 2013.
What interested you in this particular cause?
Bob | I’m a veteran, and taking care of our servicemen and women is important to me. I want to do whatever I can to give back and show them my gratitude. This work creates a passion in you that is hard to step away from.
Kathy | It’s about what we can do to thank them for the sacrifices they make for all of our freedoms. There is nothing like seeing their smiles and appreciation. If you can give them a little taste of home, even if it’s just by giving them a hot dog or soda, it makes it worth it. It’s very rewarding, and I’m happy to do it.
What kind of volunteer work are you involved with?
Kathy | We are part of the mobile unit. We have trailers that we take throughout Missouri and parts of Illinois and Kansas. We cook for a variety of events, including homecomings, deployments, family picnics and morale boosters. We offer support at just about any activity that needs food and drinks.
Bob | There are several events a year. Two years ago, the organization was hosting around 275 annually. We pick the ones that fit in our schedule and try to go out maybe two or three times a week.
Kathy | When Bob got me involved, I was initially wary about going out, but now, I just love it. He created a monster! It’s wonderful to go to different installations and meet the people. It’s just an amazing adventure.
Bob | We’ve made a lot of friends working with the USO. A lot of the military members keep in touch, and sometimes they plan little events to say thanks for what we’ve done.
If you could do anything for the organization, what would it be?
Kathy | I would like to get the word out about what the USO does for our military. It’s surprising how often people don’t really know what we are talking about when we mention our work with the organization. I think everyone should know how it supports active military and their families. I want to spread awareness.
Bob | So many people also don’t realize what the military gives up as part of their service. They sacrifice their todays for our tomorrows. It’s awesome when you see how appreciative they are. A couple of hot dogs or some scrambled eggs and bacon may not seem like much, but it’s surprising what these little things mean to them. I would like to get out there and let people know.
In the words of USO Missouri:
“Bob and Kathy have helped make it possible for us to support military members throughout our service area, which includes all of Missouri and parts of Illinois. They have been instrumental in helping to keep the USO machine running. We are lucky to have them as part of our team of volunteers!”
Photo: Colin Miller of Strauss Peyton Photography
Strauss Peyton Photography is a proud sponsor of the T&S Reaching Out Awards.