Video by Sandi Moynihan and Joseph A. Lee
CAMP WALKER, South Korea—Before he was sent to Camp Walker, South Korea, Army Maj. Patrick Caukin would read two his daughters, Ashley, 4, and Audrey, 2, every day.
“By the time the two year old turns three [my wife and I] want her to [have] read 300 books [and] by the time the four year old turns five [we want her] to have read 500 books,” Caukin said.
But when Caukin, a 15-year Army veteran, got word he’d be heading to Camp Walker for a yearlong unaccompanied tour in March 2017, he wondered if he’d have to miss out on a full year of special story time with his daughters.
Luckily, that’s when Caukin, who visited USO centers during prior deployments and travel, remembered the USO-hosted United Through Reading program and decided to see if USO Camp Walker offered the program.
Thankfully, it does.
“I’ve only been here a short amount of time, but it’s already become a steady part of our life,” Caukin said.
The USO-hosted United Through Reading® program, which is part of the larger Bob Hope Reading Program, provides service members with the opportunity to record themselves reading a book for their loved ones back home.
“You get as much time as you want to send a message, talk to them, read through the book,” Caukin said.
When they finish recording themselves reading, the USO then sends the service member’s recording, along with instructions and a copy of the book to their school-aged loved one back home.
“This is a way I can read to them and continuously help them grow in their education and help me be a part of that, even though I’m not there,” Caukin said.
You can send a message of support and thanks directly to service members via the USO’s Campaign to Connect. Your messages will appear on screens at USO locations around the world.