Eagle Scout’s dream comes alive as Ontario Airport, Bob Hope USO open renovated center for visiting troops
(Ontario, California – September 11, 2020) – The newly renovated Bob Hope USO at Ontario International Airport was formally unveiled Friday, offering guests, dignitaries and service members a first look at the Southern California airport’s beautiful new home away from home for our troops.
A cornerstone of the center is the new Patriot Patio – a labor of love for Eagle Scout and USO supporter Christian Thorpe, who in 2019 envisioned an enhanced outdoor patio area for traveling military personnel. Christian, the son of ONT Chief Executive Officer Mark Thorpe, raised a total of $7,500 in donations, and with the support of USO Acting Inland Empire Manager DJ Stanhope, San Bernardino County Supervisor Curt Hagman, the City of Ontario and the Ontario International Airport Authority (OIAA), was able to put his plan into action.
Marines and airmen from March Air Reserve Base pitched in to repaint the center itself, move furniture and install floorboards.
“We owe our servicemen and women such a debt of gratitude for their sacrifice and courage, and hope that this new center will provide a warm and welcoming experience during their travels,” said Alan D. Wapner, president of the OIAA Board of Commissioners. “We’re extremely grateful for our partnership with the Bob Hope USO, the support we’ve received from all of our volunteers and donors, and, of course, to Christian, whose dream has now come alive.”
Said Stanhope: “The Patriot Patio is a great example if the strong community here in Ontario. What started with one Eagle Scout hoping to make a small but important difference by adding tables inspired others – Ontario International Airport, the City Council of Ontario, and San Bernardino Supervisor Curt Hagman – to join in and has led to the creation of this entire patio area which will make it possible for us to serve many more troops under COVID restrictions.”
The Patriot Patio replaces the old outdoor seating area, consisting of concrete benches dating back many years, with new patio tables and umbrellas. Christian held a community BBQ, raising the initial $7,500.
Hagman, the City of Ontario and OIAA Chief Operating Officer Bruce Atlas, a U.S Navy veteran, each contributed $5,000.
“Especially now, during the pandemic, having a safe, comfortable outdoor space for our visiting servicemembers is so very important. We thrilled to be able to dedicate this beautifully refurbished center, and to let our military heroes know how much we appreciate them,” said Hagman, who serves on the OIAA Board of Commissioners.
# # #
About Ontario International Airport
Ontario International Airport (ONT) is the fastest growing airport in the United States, according to Global Traveler, a leading publication for frequent fliers. Located in the Inland Empire, ONT is approximately 35 miles east of downtown Los Angeles in the center of Southern California. It is a full-service airport which, before the coronavirus pandemic, offered nonstop commercial jet service to 26 major airports in the U.S., Mexico and Taiwan. More information is available at www.flyOntario.com. Follow @flyONT on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
About the Ontario International Airport Authority (OIAA)
The OIAA was formed in August 2012 by a Joint Powers Agreement between the City of Ontario and the County of San Bernardino to provide overall direction for the management, operations, development and marketing of ONT for the benefit of the Southern California economy and the residents of the airport's four-county catchment area. OIAA Commissioners are Ontario City Council Member Alan D. Wapner (President), Retired Riverside Mayor Ronald O. Loveridge (Vice President), Ontario City Council Member Jim W. Bowman (Secretary), San Bernardino County Supervisor Curt Hagman (Commissioner) and retired business executive Julia Gouw (Commissioner).