ONTARIO, Calif., Sept. 11, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The newly renovated Bob Hope USO at Ontario International Airport was formally unveiled Friday and the Center re-opened after its temporary closure due to COVID-19, offering guests, dignitaries and servicemembers a first look at the Southern California airport’s beautiful new home away from home for our troops.
A cornerstone of the USO center is the new Patriot Patio – a labor of love for Eagle Scout and USO supporter Christian Thorpe, who in 2019 envisioned an enhanced outdoor patio area for traveling military personnel. Christian, the son of ONT Chief Executive Officer Mark Thorpe, raised a total of $7,500 in donations, and with the support of USO Inland Empire Manager DJ Stanhope, San Bernardino County Supervisor Curt Hagman, the City of Ontario and the Ontario International Airport Authority (OIAA), was able to put his plan into action.
Marines and airmen from March Air Reserve Base pitched in to repaint the center itself, move furniture and install floorboards.
“We owe our servicemen and women such a debt of gratitude for their sacrifice and courage, and hope that this new center will provide a warm and welcoming experience during their travels,” said Wapner, who serves as president of the OIAA Board of Commissioners. “We’re extremely grateful for our partnership with the Bob Hope USO, the support we’ve received from all of our volunteers and donors, and, of course, to Christian, whose dream has now come alive.”
“Our USO Airport centers are one of the many ways the USO is committed to supporting America’s service members and their families by keeping them connected to the people, places and values they cherish,” said Paul Estrada, Bob Hope USO Board Chair and US Army Veteran. “We’re thankful to our partners at Ontario International Airport, for helping the USO provide the over 25,000 men and women who put their lives on the line for us with a warm welcome when they come home or pass through.”
The Patriot Patio replaces the old outdoor seating area, consisting of concrete benches dating back many years, with new patio tables and umbrellas. Christian held a community BBQ, raising the initial $7,500. Hagman, the City of Ontario and OIAA each contributed $5,000.
“Especially now, during the pandemic, having a safe, comfortable outdoor space for our visiting servicemembers is so very important. We are thrilled to be able to dedicate this beautifully refurbished center, and to let our military heroes know how much we appreciate them,” said Hagman, who serves on the OIAA Board of Commissioners.
“The Patriot Patio is a great example of the strong community in Ontario,” said DJ Stanhope, USO Inland Empire Manager. “What started with one Eagle Scout hoping to make a small, but important difference by adding tables for our military to enjoy inspired a community of others and led to the creation of an entire new patio area and the possibility for us to serve many more troops even during this global pandemic.”
About Ontario International Airport
Ontario International Airport (ONT) is the fastest growing airport in the United States, according to Global Traveler, a leading publication for frequent fliers. Located in the Inland Empire, ONT is approximately 35 miles east of downtown Los Angeles in the center of Southern California. It is a full-service airport which, before the coronavirus pandemic, offered nonstop commercial jet service to 26 major airports in the U.S., Mexico and Taiwan. More information is available at www.flyOntario.com. Follow @flyONT on Facebook, Twitter, andInstagram
About the Ontario International Airport Authority (OIAA)
The OIAA was formed in August 2012 by a Joint Powers Agreement between the City of Ontario and the County of San Bernardino to provide overall direction for the management, operations, development and marketing of ONT for the benefit of the Southern California economy and the residents of the airport’s four-county catchment area. OIAA Commissioners are Ontario City Council Member Alan D. Wapner (President), Retired Riverside Mayor Ronald O. Loveridge (Vice President), Ontario City Council Member Jim W. Bowman (Secretary), San Bernardino County Supervisor Curt Hagman (Commissioner) and retired business executive Julia Gouw (Commissioner).
About the USO:
The USO strengthens America’s military service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country, throughout their service to the nation. At hundreds of locations worldwide, we are united in our commitment to connect our service members and their families through countless acts of caring, comfort and support. The USO is a private nonprofit organization, not a government agency. Our programs and entertainment tours are made possible by the American people, support of our corporate partners and the dedication of our volunteers and staff. To join us in this important mission, and to learn more about the USO, visit USO.org or at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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SOURCE Ontario International Airport