Film: Sweet Home Alabama and Pirates of the Caribbean series
Music: “Anything but country.”
Actor: Johnny Depp
Travel: Wants to go to Australia and England
Future: “I’m content with where I am now.”
Veteran’s Day brought celebration and thanks to those who have served, but for Financial Aid Loan Specialist Jennifer Prusko, it doesn’t end there.
Financial Aid Loan Specialist Jennifer Prusko told the audience how she works part time for the USO (United Service Organization) and explained what she did while she was there.
Prusko first heard about USO from her mother and started volunteering with them when she finished her Undergraduate.
Since 2001 Prusko has been volunteering for USO by coordinating welcome home events, arranging opportunities for soldiers to do fun activities while they are home and making happy moments for them.
“I literally fell in love with it,” Prusko said.
Prusko started out as a volunteer and received the 2007 volunteer of the year award and in2010 she was asked to become a part-time employee for USO.
“I still view myself as a volunteer,” Prusko said.
Prusko has not been an average volunteer for USO, she’s put in a lot of work to help out because she cares.
“What I’ve done is brought structure because it was a much smaller group of volunteers and now were almost up to 400 volunteers,” Prusko said. “I’ve created two or three times a year, little social outings just for our O’Hare group.”
According to Prusko, her volunteering work does not just stop at USO, she continues to help veterans at the college as well.
“Now that I know about the veterans lounge, for their meetings, I’ll make cupcakes or chocolate dipped strawberries,” Prusko said.
According to Prusko, the hardest part that she has experienced during her time spent in the USO was when she had to help the mothers who have lost a soldier called the American Gold Star Mothers.
“That was the most heartbreaking thing I had to do,” Prusko said. “There’s nothing I could say to them, like ‘everything will be okay’ when it’s not.”
Prusko said that she has had more ups than downs while working with the USO and some of them are linked to the people she has met.
“I’ve met a lot of people through it and it gave me opportunities that I probably wouldn’t have had,” Prusko said.
Bill Murray once gave Prusko a Hershey Kiss and then a kiss on the cheek, which she said was humorous.
Prusko said that her only hobby is volunteering because she really enjoys the joy it brings people.
“I gave a guy a sandwich one time and you would’ve thought that I gave him the world like it was just a very good feeling to give back,” Prusko said. “I don’t see myself ever leaving the USO.”
Prusko works for USO every Saturday and then some for the men and women veterans coming home to the U.S. and their families.