October 2005-December 2005:
Janelle and Jane, mothers of Marines in the Third Battalion, First Marine Division on their second deployment to Iraq, began visiting Marines wounded in combat and their families at Bethesda National Military Medical Center. When they asked how they could help, they were told by family members, “Bring food – snacks, cheese and crackers, microwavable soup, fresh fruit, grab and go stuff.” They went back two weeks later with their first luncheon and visited a few more times before the end of the year.
In January of 2006, Janelle lost her son in Iraq. In August, the moms returned to the hospital for the first time since December 2005, making short visits to the hospital over the next five months taking notes of encouragement, snacks, and gift baskets to families and Marines they knew at the hospital.
In January of 2007, Jane’s son EAS’d from the Corps. That same month, an “Elf” provided seed money to be used toward luncheons. Their small group of three (Jane, Janelle and Deb) expanded to include Brenda, Jean, and Robin. A website and newsletter were developed to keep their supporters in touch with what they were doing. Six luncheons were provided on the combat surgical ward.
In 2007 more than 300 meals were served to recovering combat patients, family members and staff, combined, during our luncheons on the combat surgical wing of Bethesda National Naval Medical Center.
Eight luncheons were provided on the combat surgical ward at Bethesda Naval.
The volunteers that came on board in 2007 and 2008 are our “Original Crew”. They developed the foundation upon which Marine Moms-Bethesda has been built.
12 luncheons; expanded to Mercy Hall; a volunteer process and Code of Conduct were developed and implemented.
16 luncheons rotating between 5 East and Mercy Hall.
50+ names on the volunteer roster providing hands on and/or behind the scenes help. This does not include the “Elves” around the country assisting in what ever way they could. A “Policies and Procedures Manual” was implemented.
21 luncheons; expanded to Richmond VA Medical Center serving active duty combat patients on the Spinal Cord, Polytrauma and PTRP Units.
In September, Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Bethesda National Naval Medical Center combined through BRAC and became Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
Marine Moms-Bethesda served more than 1,683 active duty combat patients, their family members and visitors, Veterans and their family members, and hospital and Liaison staff at Walter Reed NMMC and Richmond VAMC, combined, during 2011.
Walter Reed: 1,554+; Richmond: 129+
Expanded to 7 East, the Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) ward at Walter Reed.
In 2012 Marine Moms-Bethesda served 25 luncheons totaling more than 1,700 meals to wounded, injured and ill combat Veterans of OEF, OIF, OND, Veterans from past wars, their family members, and hospital staff at Walter Reed NMMC and Richmond VAMC, combined.