The United Service Organization (USO) of North Carolina in Jacksonville hosted a weekly Saturday breakfast, Aug 17.

“I started these breakfasts about four years ago,” said retired U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Joe Houle. “I wanted to support the USO. Community donations keep (the organization) running… Another benefit of these breakfasts is the camaraderie. Veterans get to sit with other members of the community and talk.”

The breakfast is a weekly fundraiser put on by veterans to keep the USO’s door open.

“This is the oldest continuously open USO in the world. This is our way of contributing to keeping it open,” said retired U.S. Marine Corps Col. Wayne Morris. “So we have this breakfast every Saturday.”

During the event, the Veteran Enforcers Motorcycle Club had a table set up in the back. They were holding registration for a poker run in partnership with the USO of N.C. in Jacksonville. Starting at 9 a.m., the participants head out to five locations, picking up a card at each location. At the final destination, the best poker hand wins a cash prize and the remaining proceeds go to the USO.

“We fully support the USO,” said retired U.S. Marine Corps Master Gunnery Sgt. Charles Hughes. “We get to ride around and have some fun with the community while contributing to the USO.”

Veterans sat with community members of all ages discussing life and telling stories.

“This is an excellent chance for people to come out and see the walking history of our town and our military,” said Amy Leuschke, Coastal Area Director for the USO of N.C. in Jacksonville. “It is the support and generosity of this community that keeps us open.”

“Outreach is working because our doors have never shut,” Morris said. “I’ve walked through these doors for the first time when I was a private first class. I left for a bit, but came back in 1962, and I have been here ever since. We welcome anyone who wants to come eat.”

For more information on the USO of N.C. in Jacksonville, visit https://northcarolina.uso.org/jacksonville.