Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Raffle of U.S. Flag from Afghanistan Will Benefit USO

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Raffle of U.S. Flag from Afghanistan Will Benefit USO

Article excerpt

Byline: Christopher F. Aguilar, Shorelines staff writer

An American flag that will fly at the United Service Organizations' center in Afghanistan on Super Bowl Sunday will be raffled off in Jacksonville on Monday with the raffle's proceeds benefiting USO centers in the city.

But before the flag is delivered to the lucky winner, it will be framed by a man who lives and works in Atlantic Beach.

The job is a source of pride for Atlantic Beach business owner Larry Bussey.

"I was humbled and honored," said Bussey, a 12-year Army veteran and owner of d'Art Framing, Awards and Gifts. "It sent chills down my spine."

The USO center in Afghanistan opened last month to serve American military men and women fighting in the War against Terrorism. The center was built through a donation by the National Football League and is named in honor of Pat Tillman. Tillman was a former Arizona Cardinals football player who died in Afghanistan last year while serving as an Army Ranger.

K.C. McCarthy, executive director for Jacksonville's USO, approached the organization's world headquarters with the idea of obtaining the flag and raffling it off during the Super Bowl.

"They thought it was a wonderful idea and agreed to provide the flag," she said.

McCarthy said the flag flying over the center, which honors a soldier and former football player, pays tribute to the servicemen and -women in Afghanistan.

"A flag flown over that center would be a tribute to him and the troops over there that benefit from that USO," she said. "They look at him as a hero and know he made the ultimate sacrifice. He's left our servicemen and -women a legacy."

Raffle tickets will be available at the USO's mobile canteen, an RV-style vehicle that has a big-screen TV, a stereo system, snack bar and computers with Internet access. The mobile canteen, which traveled from Fort Hood in Texas to Jacksonville, will be parked at the Radisson Riverwalk Hotel in Jacksonville. …

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