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CEO Of PHL Chellie Cameron Praises USO Partnership

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Chellie Cameron, the CEO of Philadelphia International Airport, discussed their partnership with the Liberty USO and the benefits the organization provides to active servicemen and women while traveling.

Cameron, during and interview Chris Stigall on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT during the celebration for the USO's National Volunteer Month, explained the relationship between the city, the airport and the USO.


"We're a city run airport, but we don't take any tax dollars. We're self sustaining. Everything that we earn here goes right back into the operation. One of the things that we do is we're able to support organizations like the USO with space. This facility, which is in Terminal A East, it's down on the lower level with a great view of the ramp, is something that the city provides to the USO. They don't pay rent for it. The value is about a half million dollars a year, so it's pretty significant."

She said the USO provided an essential service to her during her time in the military.

"I passed through the Philadelphia USO when I was on active duty. I was on my way to Incirlik Air Base in Turkey after the first Gulf War. It was December of 1993 and the USO was nothing like it is today. It was really just a room. But when you're going overseas and, especially when you're young, I was a First Lieutenant, I was 25 years old and going overseas for the first time, didn't know what to expect and to be able to have just a little piece of home and the warmth that comes from the USO before I went overseas was really significant to me."

Cameron said the USO does a great job helping soldiers relax and adjust during their time serving the country.

"For folks that haven't served on active duty, you don't know what it's like to be leaving the United States and going to a place where you don't know what to expect. It can be something like what I did where I was just being stationed overseas, living on a Turkish run air force base for two and a half years...The folks who are actually deploying overseas to fight, it's a really scary part and time in your life. To have something a place where you can go where you feel welcomed, where you feel comfortable, where you can see people that aren't other military folks that make you nervous or uptight is just wonderful."

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