USO of North Carolina open a building at Camp Lejeune

Megan Boggs cuts the ribbon to open the new building at Camp Lejeune.
Megan Boggs cuts the ribbon to open the new building at Camp Lejeune.(Olivia Dols)
Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 8:51 PM EDT
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CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (WITN) - The USO of North Carolina opened the doors to a new building on Thursday at Camp Lejeune.

At the ceremony, there was music, refreshments, food, and tours of the new building. The ribbon-cutting happened Thursday morning and the organization plans to use the space to serve the community as well as military families. The 8,800 sq. ft. building will have libraries with children’s books, a gaming room on the second floor, and rocking chairs for mothers.

“Today, we get to carry on that history,” said Megan Boggs, the center manager. “For so long, service members were connected in that building, and now we get to do that for the service members today.”

The old building was located across from the courthouse in Downtown Jacksonville but had to close the doors due to structural safety concerns.

“She was 80 years old,” said Megan Boggs, the center manager. “We all need a good facelift at 80, right? Unfortunately, it wasn’t salvageable. It’s hard to say goodbye, but also incredibly rewarding to be part of the hello of the future.”

While the new building opens and welcomes new memories, Boggs says the old location will always mean something to her and her colleagues.

“I think there’s a lot of history and warmth,” said Boggs. “A lot of really incredible old stories where people came home from Vietnam and that was their safe place, those four walls.”

However it is not a place for just Boggs and her colleagues to celebrate, but military families as well. Colonel David Ickles joined the Marines 24 years ago and says the non-profit helped him get through many deployments.

“We were deployed in Iraq,” said Col. Ickles. “The volunteers provided great support as we were traveling in and out of the country, to and from deployment.”

With the new location of the USO of North Carolina moving to base, it will be easier for people to utilize.

“The marine’s barracks are just across the street,” said Col. Ickles. “They are able to come and go as they please.”