Trail Blazers Join Forces with USO Northwest for Commitment to Service

by Cody Sharrett

During NBA Cares' Hoops for Troops week, the Portland Trail Blazers partnered with the USO Northwest to invite several military servicemen and women and their families to their practice facility on Saturday for a special project benefitting Meals on Wheels and Lift Urban Portland.

Representing various branches of the armed forces, the service members and their families were given a special tour of the facility by Trail Blazers players Meyers Leonard, Gerald Henderson, Pat Connaughton, Maurice Harkless, Tim Frazier and assistant coach Jim Moran before a special question-and-answer session with the players. The team and its guests finished the day by making holiday cards for seniors and homebound individuals. 

"It’s nice to be able to see these people’s faces, have them come out to our practice facility, which a lot of people don’t get to see — just being around them and joining forces in a sense," Leonard said of partnering with the USO. "We are making holiday cards and doing things to give back to the community with Meal On Wheels. It’s nice that we can kind of combine our efforts to do better for the community."

Saturday's project was one of many facets of the NBA's Commitment to Service program. The Trail Blazers also often supply tickets for games to those in the armed services as a way of saying "Thank you." 

"We are so honored to be participating and having this partnership with the Blazers, the NBA and their Commitment to Service program," said Christine Vu, PDX Center Manager of USO Northwest. "I know, just looking at their faces, it means a lot to our service members to be here right now with their families to meet the Blazers... We’re really grateful for this partnership with the Trail Blazers."

Hoops For Troops Week runs through Wednesday, November 11.