Pioneer Valley USO holds annual gala in Holyoke - FOX Carolina 21

Pioneer Valley USO holds annual gala in Holyoke

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The Pioneer Valley USO held their America, the Land of the Free Dinner and Dance and Gala at the Log Cabin Saturday night.

The gala is the group's largest fundraising event of the year and it funds many programs and services.

One member from each branch of the military was honored during the event.

The keynote speaker was Ret. Col. Mark Tillman, who was the Air Force One pilot for Pres. George W. Bush on Sept. 11, 2001.

He told CBS 3 exactly what the USO means to him.

"People only see the USO when they are at the airport," said Tillman. "They see all of us coming from deploying or whatever we are doing. When we come through the airport it's someone to shake your hand. It is the neatest thing ever when you have got a former military member from the USO or just a family member who comes and grabs you, and pulls you in while you're waiting and you know the big hug."

CBS 3 Springfield was honored at Saturday night's gala by the USO, in recognition for outstanding support to the men and women of the armed forces.

Our own Cherise Leclerc and Tim Callery were there to accept the award.

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