Erik Oberg – USO – Wright Patterson AFB

Erin Dickerson’s Prayer

In honor of the Christmas Star and Christmas, I chose to share adapted prayers from Mary Had a Baby by Cheryl Kirk-Duggan and Marilyn E. Thornton.

Dear God,

Lead us and guide us with the bright light of your teachings. Give us the wisdom of the three kings and the faith of the shepherds and let us rise from our complacency and follow you.  Give us the ears to hear, the insight to understand, the desire to share, and the obedience to go.  Instill in us the desire to spread your message wherever you may lead us.


Special Announcement

There is no Zoom meeting on 12/29/2020.


Debe Dockins appreciated seeing members that were able to pick up their handbooks at Yankee Trace last week. If you did not pick yours up, it will be mailed to you.

Happy Birthday President Debe Dockins!

Today was Debe Dockin’s birthday. I wonder if a sitting CNO president has been serenaded by her constituents in the past!

Oh, and in case you were wondering, Debe was hoping that the singing today would be horrible! We did not disappoint. Tom Novak led our “choir” in the singing of Happy Birthday.

She had a huge smile on her face that kept getting bigger as the song went on. The singing was so bad that after today’s meeting I quickly put on some 80’s music to recalibrate my ears!

Happy Birthday, Debe, and thanks for your excellent work as CNO president 2020-2021!

Erik Oberg, USO

Debe Dockins introduced Erik Oberg, the Center Operations and Programs Manager of Wright-Patterson United Service Organization (USO) of Central and Southern Ohio.

He began his employment with the USO in September, 2019. As Programs Manager, he oversees the operation of the facility and the delivery of programs which seek to boost the morale of service members and their families stationed at Wright-Patterson AFB and around the Miami Valley. In this role, he also engages dozens of USO volunteers and maintains the USO relationship with the base and community leaders. He helps raise funds to support USO activities.

Erik is an Air Force veteran. He grew up in an Air Force family, served five years in the Air Force and spent an additional nineteen years as an Air Force spouse until his wife retired in August, 2019. He is enjoying his job supporting our next generation of service members very much.

The USO is celebrating 80 years and the WPAFB USO is celebrating 5 years.

Erik thanked CNO for its donation for the USO annual Christmas party. Stations included Candy Cane Lane, Hot Chocolate and Crafts! He said the Candy Cane Lane was a huge success. Cars were circling around the building to get their goodies on their way to see Santa and Mrs. Claus. There were over 20 volunteers in costumes of snowmen, elves and reindeers.

The weather was not cooperative the day of the party, so they consolidated the stations into one station under the shelter at the front of the building. The bags they handed out included hot chocolate and a craft kit, which included kits to make a scarf and reindeer antlers.

The USO had 180 families sign up for the event on 12/12/2020. They had to limit it to 100 families. On 12/22/2020, they will hold it again for the rest of the families.

In the evening after the event, they had 63 families log in to Zoom with Santa for 25 minutes. There was a soldier playing a saxophone and the participants sang Christmas carols. They read letters to Santa that the kids had sent in. One of the mothers sent a video of her very excited child hearing his letter read aloud on the Zoom meeting.

Testimonials about Candy Cane Lane

  • Thanks USO! We really appreciate our meal and bag of goodies! Can’t wait for zoom with Santa!
  • My children had an amazing time at Candy Cane Lane. Thank you.
  • Thank you for the amazing gifts and story with Santa!
  • We had such a great time and dinner, really appreciate you and the team!!! Merry Christmas.

Operating During COVID

WPAFB USO center suspended normal operations March 15, 2020 but they never stopped serving. One of the first changes they made was to allow puzzles to be reserved and borrowed for use at home. Since the base and the members of the service didn’t shut down, the Wright-Patt USO didn’t want to shut down.

They have received generous (multiple pallets) donations of Girl Scout Cookies and Monster Energy Drink.

They re-opened the building on 10/19/2020 after changing the floor plan to comply with COVID safety protocols. The furniture was moved to the auditorium and spread out.

Donors have been helping as much as in previous years. No employees of the Wright-Patt USO have had to be laid off.

2020 Accomplishments

Despite COVID they made a lot of repairs and upgrades to their building:

  • New air conditioning system was installed
  • New flooring was installed in the auditorium
  • New signage was installed
  • The food buffet had new sneeze guards installed
  • They added more computers and better WiFi
  • Numerous walls were painted
  • New drains were installed
  • Flowers were planted

WPAFB USO Center programming

Care Packages are assembled and sent. They are trying to push some USO joy out of the building since they can’t have too many people in. They send care packages to the hospital and to those quarantined.

Before going overseas, 200 soldiers at a time are spending 2-3 weeks in isolation at WPAFB. The USO has been working to keep their morale up.

They are impacting more families during COVID than before. The building can handle 35 families at a time for an event. Now they can have 100 families sign up for drive through events. They have had 8 drive through events so far.

The USO building houses the airmen’s attic, which is a thrift store that does not charge its customers. During the closure, they re-organized the space. They accept donations of clothing, uniforms, small housewares and toys. Service families can take anything they need for free and they have 50-80 airmen visiting per week. It is available for service families getting started, so usually age 35 and under. They can pick up to 10 items per week. Erik believes WPAFB USO is the only USO Center in the world that has an airmen’s attic service.

Odds and ends

Operation Birthday Cake is in place, which means they deliver birthday cakes.

The USO had their normal Holiday Cookie drive, but his year it was a candy drive instead. Each visitor received a bag of candy.

For Thanksgiving, volunteers assembled over 100 meals that were picked up or delivered.

Global USO COVID effects

  • COVID has caused the largest National Guard Deployment Since WWII
  • 167 centers are open and 70 still closed
  • Programs worldwide have adapted for COVID
  • The organization is strong going into 2021

Virtual Entertainment Programming has taken off during COVID

Entertainers and sports celebrities have been meeting virtually in small groups with service personnel. Entertainers have included Bill Nye, Scarlett Johansson and Chris Evans. There have been NASCAR drivers and pro WWE wrestlers as well as other sports celebrities.


Erik said thank you again to the Centerville Noon Optimist Club for our continued support!

Thank you, Erik Oberg, for joining us today. It was great to see the happy faces of kids at the parties. Thanks for all the work WPAFB USO does.

New Member Readings and Inductions

Name Sponsor 1st 2nd 3rd Reading or Induction
Casey Dixon Jeff Umbreit Induction
Doug Flanders Joe Madden 2nd Reading

Happy Bucks

Member Reason
Bob Burkman His 58th wedding anniversary with Carol Burkman will be 12/29/2020.
Debe Dockins Thanks to CNO for singing Happy Birthday to her today.
Debe Dockins Thanks to Erik Oberg of Wright-Patt USO for presenting today.
Jesse Lightle Thank you to CNO for installing several flags in front of the rec center for the funeral processional for firefighter Lt. Jeff Guernsey who died Dec 3. 2020 at age 52 due to complications of COVID.

Membership Anniversaries

Member Month Day Joined # Years
Scott Langer December 30 12/30/1997 23
Bill Stone January 1 1/1/1977 44
Bob Duffy January 1 1/1/1988 33
Jim Rumford January 1 1/1/1990 31
Paul Stull January 1 1/1/1970 31
Will Cale January 1 1/1/1976 45
John Carroll January 3 1/3/2012 9


Member Birthday
Paul Boeckman December 22
Debe Dockins December 22
Steve Mock December 25
Jeff Papanek December 26
Dave Kay December 27
Molly Petsch December 28
Christine Balsan December 28
Kelly Stone December 29
Sonny Singhvi January 1
Rafael Santillan January 1
Joe Madden January 3

CNO Donations 2013 through October 2020

Click this link to see a summary of the donations our club has made.

Over the past 53 years, we donated over $2,000,000 to our youth community. In the past 6 years, we have donated nearly $712,000.

Sergeants at Arms

No Sergeants this week.

Welcome Guests!

Doug Flanders – Guest of Joe Madden – WELCOME Doug!

Zoom Meeting This Week

We had another meeting using Zoom. We will continue our weekly meetings via computer, cell phone or tablet for at least the next several weeks. Please join us and keep inviting guests.

Who can Attend Zoom Meetings?

Any member of any type of Centerville Noon Optimist can attend Zoom meetings. CNO 2.0, St Leonard’s and CNO full members or CNO monthly members can ALL attend.

Guests are also welcome. Please invite guests and introduce them if you like. Just share the Zoom link with them for that week.


In keeping with social distancing requirements – our CNO Meetings have transitioned temporarily to a online format using ZOOM.

Club Member Joe Madden was inspired to rewrite The Optimist Creed – so we give you now – The Corona Creed -with apologies to Christian D. Larson, Author of The Optimist Creed.

Meeting Links

  • The Meeting Pod cast is here
  • Due to WPAFB USO Security Policies – we are not providing a copy of the PowerPoint nor Zoom Video on the website this week since men and women serving in the military are pictured in many of the images included in the presentation

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