USO Georgia Executive Director Recognized for 55 Years of Serving the People Who Serve and Their Families during Atlanta Hawks Home Game

For Mary Lou Austin, Executive Director for USO Georgia, the word “service” is not just a concept – it’s a lifestyle. After all, Mary Lou has been working at the USO in service to our nation’s military for 55 years now, and she shows no signs of slowing down.

In recognition of her 55 years of dedication and commitment in serving our nation’s military service members and their families, Mary Lou was honored during the Atlanta Hawks’ recent ‘Crowning Courage,’ event at their home game against the Portland Trail Blazers, March 27, 2024.

“This well-deserved recognition was to honor Mary Lou Austin’s 55 years of service to the military community through the USO,” said Christina Shivley, Center Operations and Program Manager, USO Georgia. “The theme of the Crowning Courage event was to honor those who serve our country in various ways.”

During the event, the Hawks honored and celebrated active duty service members, veterans and their families to include making a one thousand dollar donation to the USO in Mary Lou’s honor, all while providing fun activities, including stuffing care packages in Crown Royal bags to send off to deployed troops.

Mary Lou was recognized on the court in front of thousands of fans, served as co-captain of the game, and was presented with a special jersey sporting the number ‘55’ and ‘USO’ on the back, signifying her 55 years with the USO.

“Every year, our Lady Hawks (wives, mothers and girlfriends of our players, coaches and staff) honor a local woman at the Hawks Crowning Courage game to recognize her impact on the military community. When we heard about Mary Lou from a colleague, we thought – who better to honor on this special evening than Mary Lou,” said Jen Faires, Director Global, Partnership Activation Atlanta Hawks and State Farm Arena.

“It certainly was an honor to be recognized for my years of service to the USO and more importantly because of the USO’s mission in strengthening the well-being of the people who serve and their families,“ said Mary Lou.

Mary Lou officially celebrated her 55 years of dedicated service and sacrifice to our service members and their families on Jan 6, 2024.

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