Annual USO of Indiana Five Star Gala Returns September 14
Photography Provided by USO of Indiana
On September 14 Indiana residents will have a chance to support U.S. military members in a unique fashion by attending the annual United Service Organizations (USO) Five Star Gala at the Westin in downtown Indy.
The Gala will feature dinner and live music from Indy-based band The Bishops, live and silent auctions for a wide range of items and experiences and a special ceremony honoring this year’s Indiana Five Star Medal honoree, Outstanding Military Service Member honorees from each branch of the military, and the 2019 USO of Indiana Volunteer of the Year.
Fishers resident Teresa Becker, who joined the USO of Indiana four years ago with her husband Todd after their son Lee and daughter Jennifer both enlisted in the military, joined the Five Star Gala committee three years ago. Since then, Teresa has helped put together the evening’s auction items, which she says will comprise more than $30,000 in goods and experiences this year.
“It’s a chance to not only give of your time and help our service members, but at the Gala you can meet some wonderful people and have a fun evening,” she says. “For us, it’s been a labor of love because we love our military and feel like they and their families make such sacrifices on our behalf.”
This year’s auction items will include a stay at the Waldorf Astoria resort in Maui, a night at the French Lick Springs Hotel, a skydiving session, golf equipment, gift baskets and more.
“There will be a lot of nice things to win,” Teresa says. “Coast to Coast Imports in Fishers is giving away an exotic car experience, where if you win you pick out a car at the dealership and get it for the weekend. They’re bringing one of their cars to have out front at the Westin on the night of the event and that will be fun.”
Teresa adds that the Gala is the USO of Indiana’s largest fundraising event, and 90% of all contributions to the organization go directly to operating its centers and funding programs offered to U.S. troops and their families.
“Todd and I were out at one of the USO centers at the Indianapolis airport a few years ago and said to each other that we want to help serve those who serve,” says Teresa, whose brother was in the Navy and whose father served in the Korean War. “Even though my own kids were off serving and weren’t here, it made me feel like we could take care of other people’s kids that are in the military.”
The USO of Indiana, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit created in 1941 as a chartered affiliate of the USO with six centers currently located throughout the state, depends almost entirely on local corporate and individual contributions to keep its programs and facilities operational. Last year the USO of Indiana served more than 124,000 servicemen and women at its locations.
“The USO of Indiana centers serve as a home away from home by keeping our troops connected to family, home and country through a wide variety of programs for them and their families, and by providing them with a comfortable, homey place to relax, grab a snack or meal, play games, use a computer or enjoy fellowship of other soldiers while away from home,” Teresa says.
USO was founded as a nonprofit prior to World War II as a way to boost military morale through live entertainment, social facilities and other programs and special events. USO currently hosts events and distributes care packages around the world and has created several outreach programs including the Bob Hope Legacy Reading Program and the Oxygen Stronger Families Seminars.
USO of Indiana Five Star Gala
When: September 14; Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. and dinner will commence at 7 p.m. The program will conclude at approximately 10 p.m.
Where: The Westin Indianapolis, 241 West Washington Street
Additional info: Entertainment provided by The Bishops. Individual tickets are $150 and Military Discount tickets are $100. To purchase tickets and sponsorships, and for more information on USO of Indiana and the Gala event, visit the Gala link at indiana.uso.org or call 317-991-1073.