Jillian Ferron, of Malta, has been working as a USO member to ease the lives of soldiers by offering them a break from battlefields and allowing them to stay connected with their families.

Jillian Ferron a Hometown Hero

Two months after Jillian graduated college she went to Kuwait then Afghanistan to work for the USO. The USO is offers respite to soldiers and the staffers, like Jillian, help make life in a war zone a little less difficult.

The USO offers those serving some familiar comforts, like computer access, telephones, cards and crafts, and the base has instruments and a music room for soldiers looking to play music. They also have video games, host game nights, and offer fun 5K runs to take soldiers' minds off of work for a little while.

USO staffers like Jillian will even record a soldier reading a children's book and then mail the video and book to the soldier's child so they can read along. If an expecting parent cannot make it back home to see their child's birth, USO workers like Jillian Skype the birth of babies for parents.

In addition to to her everyday work, Jillian has been flown in helicopters to small Forward Operating Bases. She did this over the holidays to bring troops USO packages so that they would have gifts for Christmas. In the warmer months, Jillian and her coworkers have also delivered ice pops to soldiers out on the tarmac on 120-degree days. Jillian has been in the backstage crew for Miranda Lambert and Toby Keith when they were at the USO center to perform a concert for the troops. She has also been on the Wounded Warrior Hospital base and brought activities to troops while they recover from injuries.

Jillian's time in the Middle East has come to an end, as she has just recently returned to the US to continue to pursue other work and complete her master's program.

As part of the “Hometown Heroes” series, we’ve partnered with County Waste, Latham Ford, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Capital Region and Awards by Walsh to celebrate local unsung heroes for their good deeds and honorable work. Thank you, Jillian, for all that you do and good luck completing your degree!