Nolan Middle School presents USO with more than 500 decks of cards.
Eighth-grader Nicholas Harlin, the Student Government Association president at R. Dan Nolan Middle School, had a big reason to make sure the school’s playing cards drive for the United Service Organizations was successful.
“My grandfather, Jack Harlin, fought in the Korean War, so I have a personal connection to armed forces like pretty much everyone does,” Harlin said. “We want to appreciate their service.”
The Student Government Association members at Nolan brought up the idea to donate playing cards to the USO when their faculty adviser, eighth-grade history teacher Ian Barnes, asked the USO if it would benefit from a community service project. Barnes had worked with the USO in the past.
The USO is a nonprofit focused on providing support and entertainment for service members. Linda Carbone, the center director for USO Central Florida’s locations at the Orlando and Tampa airports, said the students’ effort will be appreciated.
“Groups as little as six and as big as 47 troops come through the USO at Tampa International Airport before they go off to basic training,” said Carbone, who noted that often they won’t have cellphones or video games to entertain themselves.
Carbone said the USO often runs out of playing cards.
“We’re going to let the (service members) know a middle school donated these cards because it means so much more to them than just me going out to buy cards,” Carbone said. “It means their community supports them.”