Bob Hope USO opens inside John Wayne Airport in OC

ORANGE, Calif. (KABC) -- Service men and women are getting an extra special welcome at John Wayne Airport in Orange County.

Inside Terminal B, officials cut the ribbon Monday for the Bob Hope USO center - the county's first USO center since World War II.

"Orange County is an end destination for a lot of military personnel and we're just excited to have place for them to go when they're here," said Shawn Nelson with the Orange County Board of Supervisors.

Traveling service men and women and their families can grab a snack, relax on a couch, play video games and read a book at the USO center -- all for free.

The USO's hope is to create a comfortable home for those who protect our country.

"Twenty thousand members of the military transit this airport on orders each year, so that doesn't even count the folks who are on vacation, on leave," said Bob Kurkjian, executive director of Bob Hope USO.

The Orange County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously in April to create the center. Donors came forward to design, build and furnish the space. The center will be completely run by volunteers.

"The people that volunteer to do this are truly great Americans who give back to their country, and service members truly appreciate it," U.S. National Guard Gen. Mark Malanka said.

The grand opening comes on the eve of Veteran's Day and the 239th birthday of the Marine Corps.
The USO says the timing couldn't be any better.

"The real purpose of today and that center is to formally thank those men and women for what they do for us," said Steve Briggs, chairman of Bob Hope USO.

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