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USO opens new dependants' lounge at Dover AFB terminal

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class James Bolinger
  • <br /><br /> 436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
The United Services Organization of Delaware cut the ribbon on the new dependants lounge at the 436th Aerial Port Squadron Passenger Terminal June 14.

The lounge is a two-room children's play area and nursery with brightly painted murals covering the walls.

"The grant was a $5,000 'Minnie' grant given by the Walt Disney Corporation," said Joan Cote, USO Delaware president and chief executive officer. "We applied through our parent organization and won the second place category."

The USO hired local graphic artist Lori Conner to design and paint the room.

"She painted everything at a discount,"said Ms. Cote. "I believe she even left the cost of the nursery out of her bid."

Ms. Cote and Mrs Conner decided to incorporate Disney characters into the design even though it wasn't a requirement of the grant process or the Disney Corporation.

The theme Mrs. Conner decided on was "Bubbles around the World."

"Bubbles are something all kids love," said Mrs. Conner. "I also knew I wanted to paint the world. Kids could come in here and see where they are going and where they have been."

One wall of the mural is a complete map of the world separated into regions; it even has Delaware so kids can see where they are at in the world while utilizing the facility.

Directly opposite the map is Mickey Mouse's desk on which are several hints and clues so children can follow Mickey's trail as he travels around the room.

"There is even a picture in one of the trees where Walt (Disney) is holding Mickey's hand and they are walking," said Ms. Cote. "There are so many little details that you would only see if you were shown them or if you sat in the room for a really long time."

The nursery follows the bubbles theme; however, Mrs. Conner wanted to give it more of a soothing feel. A window looking into the room actually gives the feel of peering into a fish bowl. Colorful fish swim around the room, their bubbles floating up the surface on the turquoise-colored walls representing water.

Standing over Mickey's desk is a painted window which looks out on Dover's flightline and a C-5 taking off.

"I had my son with me while I was painting and I could hear the planes flying over head and but I couldn't see them," said Mrs. Conner "Then my son looks at me and says 'mommy I can't see the planes.' I decided to paint a window where the kids could see the tower and a C-5 taking off."

The detailed, colorful artwork and multitude of toys is enough to brighten any child's day or even a parent who is playing with their son or daughter, especially on those long waits before a child begins their trip around the world.