Please join the USO Vicenza in congratulating Emily (Em) Oquendo for being our 2020 USO Vicenza Volunteer of the Year. Em comes from Houston, TX and graduated from Sam Houston State University with a major in Dance and minors in Special Education and secondary education. Emily is the spouse of an active duty service member and is currently living Italy with her husband and their dog Apollo and her cat Figaro. When Em is not volunteering she enjoys her hobbies like dance, photography, choreography, modeling, graphic design, web design, art, and helping children! When asked why she volunteers Em stated, “I love volunteering at the USO because it was introduced to me on my very first day here in Italy by my husband. The USO soon became like a second home and family to me with the plus of being given the opportunity to help others. It has allowed me to meet new people, volunteer with friends, and give back to the community.” As we all know 2020 came with many, many obstacles. Even during the pandemic, Emily was there for the USO Vicenza when called upon. She took time to record several Facebook Live instructional videos to help us reach our patrons during the strict lockdown period. As soon as restrictions were lifted, Emily was the first volunteer eager and ready for helping where she could. Emily assisted in packing over 2000 appreciation snack bags and delivering them to the troops. Emily has also taken on the job of drawing our beautiful sandwich board signs and using her artistic ability to help highlight our events. She is always there to work the Teddy Bear Club and show off her teaching abilities by instructing and reading to the children who attend these events. Basically, if we have an event, you can almost guarantee that Emily will be there pouring her heart and soul into ensuring the patrons are satisfied and delighted. Thank you, Em! You have been and continue to be a tremendous asset to the USO Vicenza in helping us not only meet our mission, but making them enjoyable for everyone. We truly appreciate you and hope to see more great things from you during 2021!
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