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      USO helps troops at McCrady Training Center stay connected

      RICHLAND COUNTY (WACH) -- They risk their lives to protect the lives of others.

      Our troops go to war because of our families, says Maj. Gen. Robert Livingston. We want to make sure that our families, especially our children are safe.

      Each year, hundreds of men and women come through McCrady Training Center in Richland County.

      When they get to McCrady, they have already said for the most part, goodbye to their families, adds director Joanie Thresher of the South Carolina USO. They are here for 18 to 22 days getting ready to go overseas.

      During their brief stay, soldiers concentrate on combat exercises to be used while serving in either Afghanistan or Iraq, but now, they have something else to think about -- what they're fighting for.

      It is a fantastic facility and I can't wait to get in there, states Lt. Jim Gracie.

      On Wednesday, the ribbon was cut on the USO in a Box facility.

      According to Thresher, the mobile center which comes equipped with TVs, gaming consoles, phones and computer are usually sent overseas to give off-duty troops a place to relax; however, this box isn't leaving as it TMs apart of new building at McCrady.

      We were able to do 10 times more than we ever thought we would be able to do here, Thresher said.

      Soldiers at McCrady didn't have a way to stay connected with loved ones until the USO created the special space.