USO, hotel chain, volunteers build care packages for military

HOMEWOOD3-w The United Service Organizations (USO) and more than 30 team members from Homewood Suites by Hilton in Memphis teamed up on a project to honor U.S. veterans on Friday.

They put together 500 travel-themed care packages for the U.S. military and their families. The “Make a Travel Moment” campaign will distribute the packages at five USO Airport Centers across the U.S. Each packet included a personal note of encouragement, appreciation and good wishes.

Giselle Albritton of Arlington, one of the Homewood Suites volunteers on Friday, supports 40 hotels in the Mid-South region. She’s also a Navy veteran herself and also remembers what it was like to be a Navy spouse when her husband (now retired) was deployed.

“So this is very, very close to my heart,” she said.

Tiffany Wilson, another Homewood volunteer, is from the Bartlett area and also appreciated the chance to volunteer.

“This is a great opportunity to give back to those who help us in the military,” she said. “I have a sister-in-law and brother-in-law in the military, and I know the sacrifices they make.”

The band of volunteers gathered at the Homewood Suites by Hilton headquarters (755 Crossover Lane, Memphis) in an assembly line to quickly put together the care packages of food, toiletries, water and other goodies. All items were supplied by the hotel chain.

Bill Duncan, global head of brand management for Homewood Suites by Hilton, was on hand to thank the participants and talk about why this project is a priority.

“I think many of use have a strong appreciation for the military and military families and those that support us, and the USO is just a tremendous organization,” he said.

Public relations manager Ursula Roman of Lakeland also noted that Homewood has done USO partnerships in the past at other locations.

Kristina Griffin, USO director of Corporate Alliances, said they can’t do the work they do at the USO’s 160 centers worldwide without supportive corporate partners like Homewood Suites. The USO manages 7 million visits annually by service members and their families.

She said, “It’s a really important part for our troops and their families to know that we still think about them when they’re deployed, when they’re stationed all over the world.”

Homewood Suites by Hilton employs about 3,500 military members, spouses and other family members. See more information about Homewood online at