At the tail end of December, literally days before I headed off for my family's epic vacation to Hawaii (I'll get to that later) I headed off to Chicago for a last minute USO trip.
See, at USO Great Lakes, which is located at the naval base right outside of Chicago, they host monthly (actually, sorta weekly-ish) "No Dough Dinners" for troops and their families.
The idea behind these dinners is to provide a free meal to troops and their loved ones right before payday when the cash might not be flowing. Pretty cool, huh?
The particular No Dough Dinner I was in town for was a pancake dinner -- how fun! Let me tell you, conducting interviews, shooting b-roll and doing my job with the smell of bacon wafting through the error was a slow form of wonderful torture -- who can focus with bacon in the air? (Don't worry, I got some bacon at the end of the shoot.)
Here's a look at my photos from the event:
I think before I went on this shoot and talked to the wonderful staff, volunteers and patron troops USO Great Lakes, I didn't understand just how important these dinners were for everyone involved. For the troops, its a change to mix and mingle and get a quality meal in that takes different from the mess hall's grub. For volunteers and staff members, its a change to bond with troops and show the outside community the importance and impact of the USO on the surrounding community.
I just love being able to capture and share the importance of such a simple, yet important program, to the outside world.
Without further adieu, here's my video from my trip: