Ten years of luncheons at Bethesda/Walter Reed.
It has always been an honor to serve the patients and their families and today was no different.
As things have changed at the hospital, we’ve adapted our luncheons. Thoughts of years past and how things have changed come to mind as we reflect on those we’ve served.
Our main mission since 2007 has been serving wounded warriors and their family members. This is why we formed – to serve our “sons by another mother” who were so far from home. And now we sometimes serve our “daughters by another mother”, too.
As the numbers of combat casualties have decreased, we’re serving “regular” active duty, Veterans, and their families more so than combat patients. Because there are fewer combat casualties, we adjusted our schedule to three luncheons this year.
The luncheons impact is still the same. Food for the families when the cafeteria in the hospital is closed, family members stay with us to eat because their loved one can’t have solids, the surprise that we’re there, and the appreciation and thanks for the meal and niftie-gifties.
Our supporters and “Elfs” are very much appreciated by those we serve. You help to make the luncheons quite awesome!
We’ve watched the hospital expand and grow as Walter Reed and Bethesda Naval planned to merge. We’ve seen the different service branches come together in one place – Army, Navy and Air Force, combining their strengths and state of the art medical skills to provide some of the best health care in the Nation to our Nation’s most precious.
Security has tightened up since 2005 when Janelle and I made our first visit there. Command has changed several times, and the offices and staff we work through for our events and base access permission changes every few years. We’re grateful they continue to work with us and allow us the opportunity to serve those who have served us.
I think each of our volunteers come away from a luncheon humbled by the sacrifices we see and stories we hear, whether it’s a young LCPL not many days off of the battlefield recovering from a limb loss with his young wife and baby by his side, or a WWII Veteran who stops in just long enough to say “Thank You for taking care of us” and shake our hands during his walk through the corridors, building up his strength as he recovers from surgery.
If those walls in the hospital could talk…
Sunday’s luncheon theme was a celebration of the United States Marine Corps’ 241st Birthday, and Veterans Day.
We were in the company of Heroes.
Sincere Thanks to Dina, Colette and Deb for their help making the day special, and to Julie for putting together the snack bags. Job well done, Ladies!
The scent of the steaming chafing dishes flowed out the doorway and down the hallway. We enjoyed having a Corpsman helping us, and kept him busy as we sat up and tore down. I’ll hazard a guess and say he enjoyed his time with us as much as we did with him.
We also met our most recent “go to” person for the events in person for the first time. Nice putting a face to the voice on the other end of the phone and emails, an Army Veteran, still serving as a civilian.
The thought crossed my mind – to be so young and to have so much responsibility… America’s Finest, who will one day be, or are now, an incredible asset to their civilian employers. Our Nation is better because of them.
Cheese platter, ham, turkey and dressing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, green beans, chicken noodle soup, fresh fruit salad, pumpkin pie, apple and dip tray, fresh smoothies, assorted drinks, and water.
Nancy and her friends in Connecticut sent some body wash, lip balm, and lotion down for the ladies, we added a few things and had special gift bags for them.
The audio books and DVDs from Bob and Dina’s friend were appreciated by the patients.
And then there were the other gifts you see in the picture at the top of the page – afghans, quilts, scarves, slippers, and pillowcases.
I don’t know how Julie packs so much stuff into the snack bags. When one falls over I can never pack everything back into it. She sent me this:
Hi, Jane.How did you like the pantry bags? I was tickled with them-I used the cinnamon and butterscotch candies for red and gold Marine Corps colors and then put the little ornaments on!
And Dina, thank you so much for adding the Patriotic table decorations to the MM-B collection! They really perk the room up!
It’s the little things… “comforts of home”. Mom stuff.
The 241st Marine Corps Birthday, Veterans Day, and Thanksgiving are right around the corner.
We’re truly “Proud to Be An American” and thankful for all who’ve made this country great – Marines, Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Reserves and National Guard, Veterans from ALL walks of life.
You are the backbone of this country.
One of the Veterans Day videos we look forward to every year is the one from the Bob and Renee Parson’s Foundation.
In addition to honoring Veterans, they partner with the Semper Fi Fund, matching dollar for dollar donations up to 10 million dollars from now through December 31st. The need is great and will continue to be so. Funds raised support ALL service branches.
On another note, our Holiday Cheer Card Campaign’s final deadline, November 19, 2016, is coming up. If you’d like to send a handwritten card to Walter Reed combat patients, details are HERE.
Thank you for your consideration, and for your support through the years.
Until next time, continued prayers for our military and their families. We’ll be back on the 4th floor again in 2017!
With Respect & Gratitude,