Join Skylight in Supporting Our Military Members and Their Families

Keven Prather

August 15, 2017

Keven Prather, Skylight Partner, Member of Skylight’s Business Private Client Group, Treasurer of the USO of Northern Ohio (USONO) and U.S Coast Guard Veteran talks to us about the upcoming USONO golf event and how you can get involved in supporting out troops.

Tell us a little about the upcoming USONO golf event?

The golf outing, which is taking place on September 8th at the Sweetbriar Golf Club, is a truly great and uplifting community event which raises vital funds to support the great work of the USONO.  It’s our major fundraiser of the year and it’s quite unique as it is attended by a good mix of civilians and active duty personnel.  Each year a different military service is honoured and this year it will be the Navy.  The day will commence with a brief opening ceremony (including an honor guard), followed by golf and finishing with a Clambake dinner.  Skylight’s Business Private Client Group is honored to be supporting the event and I will be sponsoring two foursomes.

What would you say to anyone considering coming along and supporting this event?

Yes, please do come along and support our troops!  The USO is a wonderful organization that lifts their spirits of those who serve and their loved ones.  The money we raise will support over 23,000 military service members and their families served through USONO programs and services.  This could be anything from providing care packages, meals, baby seabags, holiday events to an inviting place to rest in the many USO airport lounges.  When I was in active service I got to personally benefit from the USO support system and it leaves a lasting impression.

The burden of our defense is carried by 1% of our nation’s population, mostly young people, and it’s really important that we show our service members and their families that there’s someone out there that cares for them.

Can you tell us a little more about how the USO supported you when you were in active service?

Yes, I vividly remember one particularly rough winter patrol in the Bering Sea where USO Christmas Packages were delivered to the ship while on a refueling stop at Adak Naval Air Station on Adak Island, Aleutians. A Naval cargo plane carried these packages accompanied by a USO representative, a brave woman in her 60s, who took great care to ensure this cargo reached us. Our crew received 89 packages, one for each man on the ship – there were close to 2,000 marines and naval personnel on Adak and I don’t believe anyone missed out.

To those where Christmas 1988 was just a day in the patrol log, this made it feel a bit like home.  Later I learned that this woman’s son was killed in a military training accident while in the U.S. Navy and she viewed all Sailors and Marines as her boys. This was one of those moments in life your never forget.  One small example of what volunteers for the USO do for our service men and women in uniform.  It’s often the little things that made a big impact.

You have now been on the USONO board for nearly 3 years – what does it mean to you to be involved and how have you seen the organization develop in those years?

I guess you could say I’m hooked!  I find it very rewarding to keep connected with our service members and it’s a great way to give back.  Over the last number of years, it’s great to see that our engagement with the military and their families has increased significantly.  This year we hope to host 75 family events compared with 50 in 2015 and 15 in 2010.  We have also developed some strong relationships with areas businesses and with the Bob and Dolores Hope Foundation.  We are also playing a greater role in connecting families with their loved ones overseas, acting as a conduit for communication and helping with family issues involving anything from cars, to housing to health issues.  Whatever arises, the USONO is there to help.

Please visit the USONO website for further information on the golf outing and the organization. Also, check out this great flipbook celebrating the USO’s 75 years in Northern Ohio.