December 22, 2020 – 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

CNOtes – October 15, 2019 – Mia Walthers & Whitney Armstrong – USO @ WPAFB

Phather Phil’s Prayer


I look up and I see my God
I look down and see my dog
Simple spelling G-O-D
Same word backwards D-O-G
They would stay with me all day
I’m the one who walks away
But both of them just wait for me
And dance with joy at my return with glee
Both love me no matter what
Divine God and canine mutt
I take it hard when I fail.
But God forgives, dog wags his tail
God thought up and made the dog
Dog reflects a part of God
I’ve seen love from both sides now
It’s everywhere..AMEN… Bow-Wow
I look up and I see God
I look down and I see my dog
In my human frailty
I can’t match their love for me.


Today’s Guests – WELCOME!

Guest Guest Of
Whitney Armstrong Speaker
George Berglund Bob Bargmeyer
Beverly Dunnington Bob Lawson
Julia Johnson Myron Rheaume
Jim Kilgore Greg Fay
Jen Osborn Art Hung
Lacy Owens Stan Fronzaglia
Karl Sparklin Brandon Barrett
Mia Walthers Speaker

All Photos from the Meeting are Here

Community Event

11/14/2019, Build-A-Bear for Oncology patients will be at Children’s Hospital. More volunteers are always welcome. Contact Nancy Lehren, the chair of Child Health and Wellness.

Upcoming Volunteer Activities

10/24/2019 – Making blankets for Care House at St Leonard. See Donna Huss for details.

11/11/2019 – Avenue of Flags deliveries for Veteran’s day will be on 11/7/2019, 4 PM, 11/8/2019, 10 AM to 1 PM, 11/9/2019, 10 AM. Flag retrieval will be 11/12/2019 10:30 AM to 6 PM. Contact Tom Novak if you can help as more volunteers are needed.

Social Events

  • 11/8/2019 – 6 PM, Friday, Euchre party at the community building of Wentworth Village in Bellbrook off 725. Food and drinks will be provided. Cost is $10.
  • 12/10/2019 – 6 PM, Tuesday, Holiday Party at Yankee Trace

Happy Birthday Wes Cleaves

Wes Cleaves was at lunch today and it was his birthday. Wes has been a CNO member since 1993.  Bob Duffy, who was Wes’s CNO Sponsor, led us “singing” happy birthday to Wes. I think Bob should have warned us and Wes before starting. Oh boy was it bad! Thanks, Bob, for making Wes’s birthday extra special, and please for the sake of our hearing please watch a YouTube video on how to conduct a choir. Apparently, we all need to find a YouTube video of how the melody for Happy Birthday is supposed to sound.

Today’s Presentation from the USO

Gary Aiken introduced Mia Walthers, the Director of Development for the USO at Wright Patterson AFB and the Airport in Vandalia. She is a retired Air Force Veteran. Her husband was also in the military.

Website for USO Central and Southern Ohio

Facebook Page

From the USO entry Wikipedia:

The United Service Organizations Inc. (USO) is an American nonprofit-charitable corporation that provides live entertainment, such as comedians, actors and musicians, social facilities, and other programs to members of the United States Armed Forces and their families. Since 1941, it has worked in partnership with the Department of War, and later with the Department of Defense (DoD), relying heavily on private contributions and on funds, goods, and services from various corporate and individual donors. Although it is congressionally-chartered, it is not a government agency.

Mia started by saying she lists her hometown as Seoul, South Korea, but she is an American citizen and so American that she bleeds red, white and blue.

Her son is about to redeploy for 12 months, which is another big reason she loves and helps the USO. She appreciates the fact that the USO provides mobile Wi-Fi spots so she can communicate with her son while he is deployed.

Also attending today’s meeting is Whitney Armstrong, who is the assistant director and manager of the WPAFB USO. She is the spouse of a military man.

The WPAFB USO is responsible for 65 counties in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky. The worldwide USO is on 220 bases and combat forward areas around the globe.

The USO offers many services for soldiers and their families. They offer activities for children and entertainment as you would expect. You may not realize they offer other services like transition classes for re-entering civilian life. More program services are on their website.

They also field many types of requests. They always answer the phone. She said some of the requests get very interesting, but no matter what they take it seriously and try to be of service.

There is no federal funding for the USO. Each USO is responsible for raising funds for their area since very little comes from USO, Inc. If you donate money directly to the WPAFB USO, then the money stays there. You can earmark the money to events like the Christmas Party or for School supplies, book bags, etc. You can easily donate time or money using their website.

WPAFB does provide them a room for their activities. It is not large, and it was built in 1965, but it works. The USO is generous to other entities. Each year the USO WPAFB facility is used for free for about 160 events per year by other entities.

Annual USA Christmas Party at WPAFB

Each year they have a Christmas Party that CNO helps make happen by the donation we make each year.

She said the donations CNO gives each year makes a huge difference to the children. There are activities, gifts and Santa Claus. There is a waiting list for their event at the base. Food and drinks are donated from places like Chick-Fil-A and nearby cookie companies. She gets as many donations as possible, but it still costs about $2500 to hold the treasured event.

The fire marshal limits the number of people in their room to 150. This means only 50 children can sign up. By the time parents and volunteers are added for the 50 children, they hit the room capacity.

Currently they have to turn away between 50 and 100 children each year. They are considering having 2 parties, but that is not simple. They would need another $2500 and a lot more volunteer time. They are considering having two parties back to back for 2 hours each.

Mia showed us a slide show of pictures from the 2018 Christmas party. She said the volunteer playing Santa Claus looked great and was awesome with the kids. It looked like everyone was having a lot of fun!

CNO Donations 2013 through June 2019

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

Over 50 years, we have donated close to $2,000,000 to our youth community. In the past 6 years, we have donated nearly $700,000.


Member Birthday
Wes Cleaves October 15
Craig Dring October 16
Renee Glenn October 17
Steve Rudisill October 17
Greg Griffin October 19
Gary Anderson October 20

Membership Anniversaries

Member Month Day Joined # Years
Keith Meyer October 16 10/16/2013 6
Anita Foster-Polizzi October 17 10/17/2017 2
Greg Smith October 17 10/17/2007 12
Jean Pummill October 17 10/17/2012 7
Aaron Campbell October 20 10/20/2009 10
Monty Zinck October 20 10/20/2009 10
Steve Campbell October 20 10/20/2009 10
Tom Henderson October 20 10/20/2009 10
Carrie Million October 21 10/21/2015 4
Evelyn Griffin October 21 10/21/2015 4
Steve Blake October 21 10/21/2015 4

New Member Readings and Inductions

Name Sponsor 1st 2nd 3rd Reading or Induction
Louise Haun Mike Bevis 3rd Reading
Andy Higgins Mike Brubaker 3rd Reading
Dawayne Kirkman Debe Dockins 2nd Reading

Sergeants at Arms

Member Infraction
Art Hung Caught on camera sitting down during a standing ovation at recent meeting.
Gail Aiken Bragging about “stripping and winning” while buying raffle tickets last Tuesday.
Jerry Stahley Looking better while impersonating the grim reaper.
Roland Rapp Questioning how the Sergeants split money for 50/50, happy bucks and fines, like he thinks he is a Junior Gary Smiga.
Kelly George Thinking Brandon Barrett memorizes his hair salon schedule, he said she is going to have to use the phone.
Mary Madden Having a “senior moment” thanking Joe Madden last week for being so helpful, she must have been delirious.
Mike Bevis Name badge is missing (no one knows why), so it is assumed he lost it.

 Happy Bucks! 

Member Reason
Art Hung His fitness trainer Jen Osborn was his guest today.
Joe Madden He feels that Art Hung is not following instructions well with his new trainer.
Tim Clemmer Art has friends.
Sue Brubaker She finally got a copy of her son’s book – the Taxidermist Catalog.
Barbara Santo James Free, always a major sponsor for our golf event, told her that our event is the best that they sponsor.
Tom Novak Thanks to the flag assembly team for their work last week.
Gail Aiken Keeneland trip social was a blast last week.
Bob Burkman Carol Burkman was at today’s meeting.
Martin Huffstutler Fantastic job that USO does for the families of soldiers.