Following a temporary closure due to COVID-19, the newly renovated Bob Hope USO at Ontario International Airport (ONT) in Southern California has reopened.
A cornerstone of the USO center is the new Patriot Patio – a labor of love for Eagle Scout and USO supporter Christian Thorpe, who in 2019 envisioned an enhanced outdoor patio area for traveling military personnel.
Christian, the son of ONT chief executive officer Mark Thorpe, raised a total of $7,500 in donations, and with the support of USO Inland Empire manager DJ Stanhope, San Bernardino County supervisor Curt Hagman, the City of Ontario and the Ontario International Airport Authority, was able to put his plan into action.
The Patriot Patio replaces the old outdoor seating area, which consisted of concrete benches dating back many years, with new patio tables and umbrellas. Christian held a community BBQ, raising the initial $7,500. Hagman, the City of Ontario and OIAA each contributed $5,000.
Marines and airmen from March Air Reserve Base pitched in to repaint the center itself, move furniture and install floorboards.
“We owe our servicemen and women such a debt of gratitude for their sacrifice and courage, and hope that this new center will provide a warm and welcoming experience during their travels,” said Wapner, who serves as president of the OIAA Board of Commissioners. “We’re extremely grateful for our partnership with the Bob Hope USO, the support we’ve received from all of our volunteers and donors, and, of course, to Christian, whose dream has now come alive.”
Paul Estrada, Bob Hope USO board chair and US Army veteran added, “We’re thankful to our partners at Ontario International Airport, for helping the USO provide the over 25,000 men and women who put their lives on the line for us with a warm welcome when they come home or pass through.”
Ontario International Airport is a full-service airport located approximately 35 miles east of downtown Los Angeles.
The United Service Organization keeps America’s military service members connected to family, home, and country, throughout their service to the nation. The USO is a private nonprofit organization, not a government agency.