Operation USO Houston: Harrell family shares their story

USO has been with Harrell family for 11 years

HOUSTON - Local 2 teamed up to raise money for USO Houston on Memorial Day. The reason we chose the USO was because of the important work the organization does to help local military families.

For over a decade, Maj. John Harrell has been in the Army, and the USO has been with him and his family from the beginning.

Harrell's very first deployment was 11 years ago. Back then, he and his wife, Lori, were newlyweds.  

"I actually have a box of letters that my husband and I wrote over a six-month period," said Dr. Lori Harrell. "We had probably four phone calls in six months. Those came from a USO call center. Because they were set up there, my soldier could reach out to me."

As Harrell's career grew, so did his family. Now there's 9-year-old Andrew, 6-year-old Paige and 13-month-old Matthew.

"No matter what, each time I leave, I'm leaving one child for the first time," saidi Maj. Harrell.  

Harrell has been to Bosnia, Kuwait, Iraq, Romanian and the Balkans. Each time, the USO stepped in to help his family from helping move the law to stringing Christmas lights.

"When you have things in place like the USO, you feel a little bit more comfortable to let those stresses go because you know there are people watching out for your family," Harrell said.

The family was also stationed together in Germany. The USO helped Lori and the kids navigate around the country.

"So it allows the soldier to focus on their mission when they know their family is taken care of," said Dr. Harrell.

Photos from Germany now line the walls of Harrell's newest home in Houston. The Harrells said they are particularly fond of the USO in Houston

"To feel like we're welcomed and appreciated has been clutch for us and our morale as a family," Dr. Harrell said.

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