Category Archives: Holidays

Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving day!

 

Happy Thanksgiving!Happy Thanksgiving!

Hope your day is wonderful, and filled with family and friends and laughter as you make good memories!

And as we give thanks for our Blessings, let us keep those deployed and the families who will have an empty plate at their table in our thoughts and prayers.

Love and Hugs ~Jane and the MM-B Crew

 

 

 

Happy 238th Birthday, USMC! Thank You, Veterans!

A beautiful fall day for the 238th Birthday of the United States Marine Corps!  It just so happened our November luncheon date landed on November 10th, the birthday of the greatest fighting force in the world!

It was also the day before Veterans Day.  Such an honor to serve the Marines, Soldiers, Sailors and their families a special luncheon on the combat ward at Walter Reed.

Bethesda Exit
Almost there!

 

 

Katie, Julie, Dina, Deb and I planned to arrive a little before 10 AM.  Deb drove, traffic was easy and she and I got there a little early.

Wildlife at Walter Reed
Wildlife at Walter Reed

 

 

 

 

 

As we rounded the corner after going though the gate we had to stop for the wildlife. No, Moms, not bored Marines… 😉  There were geese taking their good ol’ sweet time waddling across the road.

We unloaded and took everything upstairs with the help of the Gunnery Sergeant.  It was nice meeting him and  putting a face to the emails.

Deb went to park the truck while I began setting up the room.  Katie, Julie and Dina weren’t far behind us.

 

November 10, 2013 Luncheon
All set up and waiting for our guests!

The Menu:

Pickles, olives, cheese and crackers
Baked Ham
Roasted Turkey
Gravy and Dressing
Chicken Tortellini Soup & Potato Soup
Mashed Potatoes
Broccoli
Sweet Potato Casserole
Fresh Fruit
Brownies
Smoothies and Assorted Drinks
and…
although we didn’t have a Birthday Cake, we had…
 
 
 
Marine Cupcakes
Happy Birthday, MARINES!

 

Awesome Cupcakes!

They came from Cupcake Blvd. in Gambrills, MD.  And they were gooood!

 

 

 

 

 

Niftie Giftie Table
A very full “niftie-gifties” table!

 

The nifty-gifties table was set up with pantry bags and other things.  Julie does the shopping and packing for the bags, which have snacks and a few other things in them, just something to have in the hospital room so they don’t have to walk down the hall to the vending machine for a day or two… or three.

Also on the table were books on CDs, great for vision-impaired patients, from Bob and Linda, Carole and the Castaways’ hand-knitted slippers and beanies, quilts from both the Bayside Quilters and Olde Kent Quilt Guilds, and composition books from Katie.

Cards from Diana
“…The troops have given so much. Thank them for me…” – Diana

 

 

 

Diana in Florida sent blank handmade Hanukkah and Christmas cards for the patients and families to have if they wanted them.

They were beautiful, as were the “all occasion” ones she sent earlier this year.

To everyone who help make the luncheons possible, your “Gifts From the Heart” mean so much to those we serve.  Thank You!

 

And then…

The time came that makes all of the planning, shopping, and preparation worth it.

Moms, Dads, wives, and patients came in to fill a plate.  Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania were just a few states represented.  There were amputees in wheelchairs, Traumatic Brain Injury patients, other types of head injury patients…

One of the patients “signed” to us – he couldn’t speak because of his recent surgery so he spelled the words out with his hand, and his wife translated “Thank You!” for us.

Some of the people we served had been to past luncheons.  More than once or twice… or thrice… and may still be there when we go back toward the end of January.

One will be moving on to a Polytrauma Unit at a VA Medical Center so he can be closer to home, and others will be back and forth between the surgical ward here at Walter Reed and Bldg. 62, the out-patient apartments, for many more months.

One Solider, very well-liked by the other patients, had started out at the old Walter Reed – three years ago… A few more surgeries and this part of his recovery will be completed, then the next steps of his rehab begins… with his Mom by his side ‘walking the walk” with him.

In spite of the life-altering injuries our troops and their families are living with in their “new normal”, their UPBEAT SPIRITS and “CAN DO” attitude are MORE than inspiring…They take their “Warrior Ethos” and they apply it to their new mission – Recovery.

Do not tell them “can not”.

They will prove you wrong.

Lessons many of us would do well to pay attention to when we’re having a bad day.

Happy Birthday, Marines!

And to our Veterans, Thank You for serving our country!

 

Until next time, continued prayers for our military and their families.

Love and Hugs,

Jane

December 2, 2010 – Mercy Hall: “Holiday Cheer at Mercy Hall”

HC 2010 logo“Elfs”, Cookies, Stockings, Cards, and a Holiday Meal!

Here’s our AAR for Holiday Cheer 2010. Thank you to everyone who made it a wonderful success!  You are SO appreciated!!!

“The Elfs”

Some “Elfs” sent gift cards, some sent stocking stuffers and ornaments, and others sent checks to help with the Santa shopping.  They also helped by getting the word out about “Holiday Cheer at Bethesda” by posting on Facebook or on their websites and blogs.

Saying “Thank you” for your unconditional support of our wounded, injured, and ill service members seems inadequate to me. I have difficulty finding words strong enough to express the appreciation and gratitude that comes from the troops and their families when we gave them the stockings, cookies, cards, and food that they weren’t expecting.

So many people have given their time, money, and hearts to help with our event and each one of you have touched many people in extraordinarily wonderful ways that we will never know.

Thank you. We appreciate you.

Cookies:

Thank you to the “Cookie Elfs” – Kate, Barb, Don, Robin, Janelle, Aunt Jeanne and Mr. Russell, Alice, Catherine, Chris and her ladies from Bayside Quilters – Barb C. Kris S., and Marlene, and Grace. Thanks also to Delmarva Blue Star Mothers for helping to fund the cookie tins.

cookie elfs 2010

Jeanne, Janelle, Barb, Don. and Katie gathered together to sort the cookies into cheery tins. Each tin held a dozen assorted cookies.

Just a few of the delicious cookies the Cookie “Elfs” made.

cookies

Nope, they’re not mini-burgers. The cuties below were made by Alice and are vanilla wafers with a Peppermint Pattie between them to look like a hamburger, using red and yellow icing to hold them together to look like ketchup and mustard with sesame seeds on top.

We filled 77 cookie containers with at least a dozen cookies in each, and have cookies in the freezer for another luncheon. Grace brought at least 8 more containers with her the day of the luncheon.

Stockings:

the stockings made by Bayside QuiltersStockings were stitched by Bayside Quilters and filled with the help of “Elfs” from all over the country. Thank you Bayside Quilters for your support and dedication to our troops not only for “Holiday Cheer’, but all year long. You have brought so many smiles and so much comfort to the combat troops and their families throughout the year.

They were stuffed with things like this and more,

the stocking stuffers

 

 

 

 

 

including hand-knitted hats by Jessi’s friends Cheryl, Tesia, Michelle, Abi, and “Covers & Soles”. Thank you!

handknitted beanies

 

 

 

 

MassageThank you, Elf Jess, for heading this up! A HUGE project! And thank you for doing massages after you unpacked the stockings.

 

 

Thanks also to “Elfs” Jason, Neale, and Erin who helped to wrap and stuff the 65 stockings.

stockings stuffedThe stockings were divided between which ones were best for Mercy Hall and best for 5 East; some for the guys and gals we see every Mercy Hall luncheon (we know what they like); some had more “things” while others had more gift cards.

 

 

Cards:

Cards were sent by people all across the United States from Alaska to Florida, Maine to California, Minnesota to Texas and points in between.  Some just had a signature; some had every spare space filled with words.

2010 Holiday Cheer cards

 

 

 

 

 

We made up 60 bundles with 30 to 40 cards in each packet. Thank you “Card Elfs”!

Thank you, Janelle and Katie, for helping to screen them.

The Luncheon:

Thank you to Susie, Grace, Katie, and Jess for the good food!

Menu:  Roast beef, ham, scalloped potatoes, mashed potatoes, salad, rolls, appetizers, pumpkin pie, apple pie, cookies, and smoothies. I probably forgot something.

holiday cheer buffet

 

 

 

 

 

cookies and pie

 

 

 

 

 

Susie, Grace and HopeHope is interning for her future Naval MOS and is required to do volunteer work as part of the requirements.  She helped Susie and Grace serve the luncheon.

 

More “Elfie” Stuff:

blanketsBayside Quilters sent quilts as did some groups that are in contact with one of our volunteers.

Melissa from Ohio sent some warm, snuggly, beautiful fleece blankets with cards from the families that made them.

When we finished and packed up at Mercy Hall, Katie and I, with Hope’s help,  went over to the hospital ward to distribute stockings, cookies, and the card bundles.  When we returned to load up the car, the Mercy Hall staff was decorating with what we had left there.

Holiday Cheer Christmas Tree at Mercy HallThis came from Amerina after the event:

“Hey Jane just wanted to thank you and let you know that the boys here at mercy hall enjoyed the stockings and yesterdays treats! I gave the rest of the stockings out at formation and hung the rest of the little stockings but by morning they were all gone. Such a success! Once again me and Pascal front desk staff would like to thank you for including us with your functions here @ mercy Hall Bethesda! I will send pictures of the tree as soon as we get it up. Thank you for funding the decorations.”

Christmas tree in the entryway at Mercy Hall.They ended up decorating two trees, one in the common room and one in the entryway.

 

 

 

 

Our Choptank Marine Corps League friends were with us.  They helped sponsor “Holiday Cheer”.

Marines at Mercy Hall for Holiday Cheer

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jim (“Old Corps”, 1946 – 1948) sent this out to his friends:

“A luncheon was served at Mercy Hall and gifts, blankets, quilts, canisters of cookies, stockings stuffed with goodies and packets of cards with greetings and thank you for your service were given out to the Marines recovering from wounds received in protecting our country.  The meal was roast beef, and ham with all the trimmings.

Later stockings, cards and cookies were taken to the wards where the non-ambulatory were recovering.

Most moving was when a entire family of brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, mother and father, grandfather and grandmother [just guessing at the relationship] came through the line and took their meal over to the ward to be with their son.  They received gifts as well for him.

Visiting the hospital and seeing the sacrifices of these young servicemen and servicewomen is very humbling.”

We also thank and are grateful for our “Defenders of Freedom” for their dedication and commitment to our country.

Choptank MCL with Marines at Mercy Hall

 

 

 

 

 

“A Different Christmas Poem” (Revised)

Wishing all of you a peaceful holiday season and ALL the Best in 2011.

Until next time, continued prayers for our military and their families.

Love and Hugs,

Jane

November 14, 2010 – 5 East: Marine Moms Have a Saying…

Janet and Shirley“My Son by another Mother.”

Some of us Marine Moms and Dads have known each other since boot camp, others since our sons’ first deployment.  Maybe our kids grew up together in the same neighborhood and joined the Marine Corps together. Still others we have met along the way through one support group or another, whether it is from the MarineParents.com site, a Yahoo group, or from homecomings, local events, a Blue Star Mothers chapter, or, yes,  even chasing down a car in town with a USMC sticker on it!  We are everywhere. It’s just the hooking up with each other that may difficult sometimes.

One thing we have in common is we claim every Marine we meet as our own, and we do our best to “fill in” for the parents who can’t be there for their son or daughter.

My hope is that every military family is connected to another military family. It really does help with the roller coaster ride.

The friendships you make will last a lifetime.
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Sunday’s luncheon had a very special feeling surrounding it.  Continue reading November 14, 2010 – 5 East: Marine Moms Have a Saying…

October 28, 2010 – Mercy Hall: “Retreat Hell! We just got here!”

“Retreat Hell! We’ve just got here!”

Well… not really… it was October 2005 when Janelle and I first visited Bethesda.  I often wonder how Shawn is doing.  Now I know, found his “Alive Day” video on You Tube.  God is Good.

Another Marine we met on one of our first visits just received his final paperwork and is officially medically retired.  It took 5 years.

Then there is the Marine from Massachusetts, the only survivor out of his group of nine.

The Corpsman who was awarded a Bronze Star.

There was a Lieutenant who was in a wheelchair being pushed by his Dad and was so polite to Janelle and me, asking us about our sons.

The Marine in his Santa hat with the little Purple Heart pin on it; the hat was covering the surgical scars  from the head injury from an IED blast.  Continue reading October 28, 2010 – Mercy Hall: “Retreat Hell! We just got here!”

Holiday Cheer at Bethesda 2009 “Elfs”

Holiday Cheer 2009 cookies and stockingsMade possible by “Elfs” across the country!

Thank you so much for being an “Elf” and bringing “Holiday Cheer” to Bethesda Naval Hospital.

AAR:
Stockings

2009 holiday cheer stockings

Stockings made by Bayside Quilters of the Eastern Shore,  MD.

Stocking stuffers were sent from: Continue reading Holiday Cheer at Bethesda 2009 “Elfs”

“Holiday Cheer at Bethesda” – Mercy Hall, December 3, 2009

mercy hall 2009 stockings cookies and cards

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Holiday Cheer at Bethesda 2009” at Mercy Hall was an incredible success!

The food was great, the stockings were fun, the cookies were delicious and the cards were the icing on the cake!

”Elfs” across the country helped us fill 65 homemade stockings, sent us over 1000 Christmas cards, and the local “Elfs” baked 100 dozen scrumptious cookies for “Holiday Cheer”.

Our December Luncheon Crew and the Choptank Marine Corps League Detachment served up a full holiday meal including turkey, ham, and all the sides!

Heartfelt gratitude to everyone who made “Holiday Cheer at Bethesda 2009” possible!

Before the Luncheon:

Our goal was to fill 60 stockings, fill 60 containers of cookies with a dozen cookies in each, Continue reading “Holiday Cheer at Bethesda” – Mercy Hall, December 3, 2009