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Clark, Knuble, Pothier, Steckel Volunteer with A Salute to Our Troops Program

by Staff Writer / Washington Capitals
ARLINGTON, Va. – Washington Capitals forwards Chris Clark, Mike Knuble and David Steckel and defenseman Brian Pothier participated with WTOP 103.5 FM, Federal News Radio 1500 AM and the USO of Metropolitan Washington in Microsoft Corp.’s annual A Salute to Our Troops program with an Operation USO Care Package Day.

Capitals majority owner Ted Leonsis helped kick off the event at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, Va., by expressing how important these care packages are. There were five assembly lines with more than 100 volunteers and the four Caps players putting together 5,000 care packages that will be shipped to U.S. Troops oversees. The USO care packages included Microsoft Zune trial cards, prepaid international phone cards, sunscreen, travel size toiletries, lens wipe cloths, CDs, DVDs, playing cards, magazines and personal messages of support from the donors and volunteers. Microsoft provided two Xbox stations where the Caps players sang karaoke with the volunteers after the packing was done.

The Capitals players recorded video messages for the troops, sending best wishes to them during the holiday season on the Pentagon Channel. “It’s always special when you can help out the people who keep us safe,” said Clark, the Capitals’ captain.

“We all did video messages for the men and women serving oversees that hopefully can let them know how much we appreciate all that they do for us,” said Pothier.

As part of the program, the USO-Metro hospital services team brought the wounded warriors “Sled Dogs” team from Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the National Naval Medical Center to Kettler Iceplex where they scrimmaged on the ice after the Capitals’ practice. The Caps players met and took pictures with the wounded warriors before heading up to pack the care packages.

This event launched Courage Caps, presented by Microsoft, which is in its third season and has raised nearly $70,000 in the first two years. Courage Caps are team-issued and branded hats that will be sold through December at Capitals home games, at Kettler Capitals Iceplex and online at with 100% of the proceeds benefiting USO-Metro.

Two versions of Courage Caps – a baseball hats and a knit hat – along with t-shirts will be on sale at, Verizon Center and Kettler Capitals Iceplex beginning Wednesday night when the Capitals face the New York Islanders. Hats and t-shirts start at $20, while a limited number of autographed hats and t-shirts are available as well.

USO-Metro provides programs and services for active duty troops and their families at the area’s military hospitals, through its Mobil USO program; at six USO family support centers and four USO airport lounges. Every program and service that USO-Metro provides is centered around its desire to give back to the men and women who sacrifice so much for our country. Whether it is bringing in a celebrity to brighten the day of a patient in the hospital or a moon bounce at Deployed Family Fun Day, USO-Metro’s goal is to boost the morale of the military community.
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