January 27, 2008 ~ 5th Floor

Windchimes in the treesJust Hangin’ Out

Running a few minutes late I arrived at Deb’s in time to join her for leftover ziti and a big salad for lunch Saturday.  We started preparing for our Sunday luncheon with the grocery shopping trip that afternoon.  Deb and I grabbed our two carts and headed into Costco with The List, printed on card stock ‘cause I’m out of printer paper.  My printer says I’m out of printer ink, too, but I think it lies… been printing with it for a month now since the lights have been blinking.

The List is divided into sections: Continue reading January 27, 2008 ~ 5th Floor

December 29, 2007 – 5 East Luncheon & Operation Santa at the Hospitals

Have you ever walked into Mom’s kitchen…

Grilled Cheese and had all of your taste buds suddenly attacked by delectable, lip-smacking smells? Mmm hmmm…

 

 

That’s exactly how it was Saturday when you walked into the room after the Moms got the soup crockpots set up  and the grilled cheese skillet going. Continue reading December 29, 2007 – 5 East Luncheon & Operation Santa at the Hospitals

September 30, 2007 – 5 East

Busy Day on the 5th Floor at Bethesda Naval Hospital!

But first an FYI:

New Amputee Care Center Opens at Walter Reed on September 13, 2007.

http://www.defenselink.mil/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=47432

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I had a late start heading over to Deb’s Saturday. See… there was this pasta salad I wanted to make that morning for the luncheon on Sunday. It turned out to be more of an event than I thought it would be. Took all morning and half of the afternoon…. It was absolutely worth it, though. GOOD stuff.

 Pasta Salad

Oh… Yeah… the yellow card… It says:

“Pasta Salad”

And under that, it says:

“Marines ONLY look inside”

 You had to be there to know what it said.

And you had to be a Marine. Continue reading September 30, 2007 – 5 East

August 26, 2007 – 5th Floor

Marine Parents Motto: “Semper Gumby – Always Flexible”

Parrot and palm tree decorations

 

Thinking all was set in stone for our August luncheon, an out-of-state friend bought a plane ticket for the trip east so she could attend August’s luncheon with us, check in on her son’s buddy, and spend time relaxing with Janelle and me. Exciting!!!

The last time we had seen each other was the weekend of homecoming 2006 and we were really looking forward to seeing each other again. She was going to come in on Thursday evening, we would spend Friday with Janelle shopping and sight-seeing, Saturday at the hospital, and she would fly home in the wee hours of Sunday morning. WOO HOO Susan was coming for a visit!

A few hours later, the phone rings, and… uh oh… the luncheon’s date had to be switched to Sunday afternoon instead of Saturday. Mad scramble to switch tickets around – yeah – you know the feeling… gotta love those airlines. 😉

Long story short, Susan still has her ticket and we’ll see her after the first of the year. In the end, after a whole lot of “Semper Gumbyness”, everything turned out wonderful and that’s what counts.

Deb and Jean unloading.

 

We spent Saturday afternoon shopping and that evening putting the gift bags together as Mother Nature entertained us with one of the more awesome thunder storms of the season. We arrived at the hospital, did a cart safari and then Janelle and a Marine headed upstairs with the first load of goodies while Deb and Jean unloaded more stuff. Poor Jean… her first visit with us and it looks like she is wondering where in the world we are going to put everything. 🙂

It’s been a hot summer here in Merryland and smoothies seemed to be a good idea for something different on the menu. Deb brought her Vita-Mix, the Mother of All Blenders, with her and spent the afternoon making them up to order.

Hula Girl

 

Hula Girls had been requested.

I can’t seem to figure the settings out on my new camera though… this picture is most definitely outta whack…

 

 

 

 

 

 

DoctorsYa know you’re gettin’ old when the Docs look the same age as your kids, right?

We always invite the medical staff in for lunch when they peek in the door and a few doctors stopped by on a break to fill their plates and chat with us for a few minutes.

Miracle Workers is the name that comes to my mind.

 Angels on Earth.

Our Marines are in excellent hands.

A lot of really good things took place Sunday. It was a good feeling having the room looking cheerful and festive for the patients and their families when they walked through the door into the room.

Parents and wives were able to meet and connect and encourage each other. We had a head’s up to be on the look out for a Marine Mom, her son, and his wife and were able to give her a Marine Mom hug from the Oklahoma Marine Moms.

I passed on a Tennessee nifty-gifty to a Tennessee Marine from a former Tennessee Marine of a past war (can you say orange?), and we did our best to fatten up Deb’s wheelchair buddy with smoothies. There was a big, dark chocolate candy bar in the gift bag that made at least one Marine really happy. The Marines who wanted to got a lei. “Hey! Wanna lei???” You should have seen their eyes open up wide! hehe

Buffet Aug 2007

It takes so little to give encouragement and to bring a smile to someone’s face.

“Touches of Home” make all the difference.

We’re going back at the end of September. Football theme next time. I wonder if Deb has a cheerleader’s outfit. GO RAVENS!!!

Until next time,

~ Jane

 

August 26, 2007 Luncheon Supporters

  • Entenmanns’s
  • DAD of TN, Inc.
  • Ann Thomas and Julie Butts-Marine Moms and Independent Arbonne Consultants
  • Washington Operation Thank You
  • Chris- Marine Mom; Loretta – Marine Mom’s Friend
  • The Sharratt Family – Marine Family
  • Those who sent well wishes by way of email to pass onto the patients
  • And the awesome Marine Liaison Staff.

Thank you!

 

June 23, 2007 – 5th Floor

Each visit we make to Bethesda for a luncheon is different…

It’s basically the same menu but the stories of the parents or the wives about their Heroes are what brings us back again. For some reason this visit touched me in a way the other visits had not, and I know now, without a doubt, that the touches of home we bring fill a need to those we serve.

Perhaps it was the young wife who so was happy to see “real food”, or the mother who had been staying 24/7 by her son’s side for many weeks, or maybe it was the young Marine who was working in the Liaison office who remembered us from our last visit.

These are the things that keep us coming back.

Both the hospital staff and the Liaison staff are great and we can’t say enough good about them. Thank you guys for your help – you know who you are.

The major league ball team who was finishing their visit as we arrived—these are the things that help brighten the patients and their families’ day.

This time, thanks to Deb, we used a Tiki theme and had table decorations and food along that line.

In addition to the barbecue that seems so popular, the sandwich makings and side salads, we also had lots of fruit, key lime pies, and a chocolate-chocolate 4-layer cake.

A highlight of the luncheon were the fresh baked goodies carefully packed and shipped by Valerie from The Bread Basket in Cleveland, Tennessee – home baked breads and muffins just like Mom used to make. (No calories, of course!)

And then there were the back packs from Operation Thank You with items for the kids visiting their Dads that were passed out. (Those ladies KNOW how to shop!!!)

We also stuffed the fridge and the pantry cupboards for those late night snacks with the help of Dave from Entenmann’s, and I included a poem written by Connie and a note from Bob for the families and patients in the basket of candy on the counter.

Miracles Happen at Bethesda and the doctors, nurses, and the Marine Liaison staff are Angels on Earth, as are the ladies I do this with.

Thank you to all who helped make our June visit happen, including our donors who wish to remain nameless.

June 23, 2007 Tiki BUffet, 5th Floor Bethesda

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

~ Jane

April 22, 2007 ~ 5th Floor

Second Cartload, April 22, 2007
Gift Bags
April 22, 2007

 

 

Many thanks to those of you who donated towards the luncheon my friends and I recently held at Bethesda.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Food table 3

 

Wounded Marines, Soldiers, their families and friends, Marine Officers in Training from Quantico,  hospital staff and Navy and Marine staff enjoyed a meal of pork barbecue, lunchmeat and sandwich makings, cole slaw, macaroni salad, potato salad, chips, fresh veggie trays, fresh fruit, pies, and juice drinks.

 

 

 

Buffet April 2007

We were able to have gift bags for each family, and we filled the fridge and cabinets in the pantry with Gatorade, soda, bottled juice, chips, Entenmann’s, and individually packaged snacks. Items like games and magazines were left in the Day Rooms for the families to use as they would like to.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notes of Encouragement
Notes of Encouragement.

 

All of this was made possible by the generous donations of Entenmann’s, Rice’s Country Store, Operation Thank You, co-workers, and friends from across the country.

Many thanks to all of you!

~ Jane

 

 

 

January 13, 2007 ~ 5th Floor

January 2007 rolled around.

We had visited the hospital several times between our visit with Nate and this visit, but within this time period, we both had some changes in our lives.

We now have a third person helping us. Deb has a family member who spent time as a patient at Bethesda on the same wing we visit. My son returned home with his wife and an honorable discharge after serving in the Corps for four years. And my dear friend, Janelle, had become a Gold Star Mom.

Corporal Justin James Watts will be forever in our hearts.

JustinWatts1

We will never forget the sacrifices our men and women have made in their service to our country.

Whether they return home safely, or wounded, or as a Fallen Hero,

We will never forget.

And we will never forget the sacrifices made by those who have served before them, in other wars.

Thank You For Your Service!

Loading up

 

Rain was forecast for this January day, but for some reason the sun shined down brightly on us. I think it was because a certain Marine Angel was smiling down on his Momma. The three of us met at the halfway point, loaded the SUV and the car up, and headed to the hospital.

We arrived at Bethesda a little ahead of schedule, found our escort, unloaded, and headed up to the ward. The Liaison office had posted flyers in the hallways with the time and place in advance to give everyone the heads up that there would be lunch for them this afternoon.

buffet Jan 13, 2007

 

Lunch was ham and turkey lunch meat with all the sandwich makings, potato salad, macaroni salad, assorted chips, cheese and crackers, olives and pickles, fresh fruit, Entenmanns’s pastries, and assorted juice drinks.

We also filled the pantry for the families. All of this was made possible by private donations and Operation Thank You.

 

The patients and families are treated very well and want for nothing, but little touches of home are always nice. Marine Moms-Bethesda tries to bring those little touches of home to them.

Jane and Deb Jan 13_2007

~ Jane

A Visit with Nate, November 2005, 5th Floor

A Visit with Nate and His Family

On our third visit to Bethesda, we met Nate and his family. Nate was in our sons’ battalion. He was a gracious host and after meeting his parents, I know where he learned that from.  I could also understand why my Marine has such high regards for him.  He talked with us for quite awhile, answered our questions, and we felt as if in a way, we were spending time with our sons.

Nate and Morgan

Generous donations from family, friends and co-workers enabled us to take dinner for the ward – teriyaki chicken, salad, garlic bread, noodles, fried rice, cookies, brownies, pies, oranges, and muffins.

Pies and desserts

We also had Christmas stockings for Nate, Morgan, and the other Marines we knew there, a gift basket for his parents, and cards from well-wishers.

Janelle's trunk was full!
Janelle’s trunk was full of “niftie gifties!”

As we were setting up, another couple arrived with food – chicken, doughnuts, and rice. They also knew injured Marines from their son’s battalion and had the same idea we had…

Main dishes on the buffet table.

We were taking care of our own.

Toward the end of our visit with Nate someone else stopped by to say hello to him.  He was there visiting the wounded Warriors on the hospital ward.

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Nate, Nov. 2005

Nate’s Mom and his girlfriend sent us a thank you note not long after our visit and with their permission I am sharing some of what they said.

From his Mom:

I want to thank both of you for brightening our afternoon yesterday. It felt like we were in someone’s home and had a party. . . . It was so relaxed and the food soooo good and filling!!! I appreciate the gifts, cards and love that came with it. It felt like a little Christmas party 🙂

. . . . I have confidence that God will provide for our needs at all times. I am so richly blessed to know this family and feel warmth and comfort in my heart. When you go thru stuff like this it really makes you aware WHAT counts in life and what is important. I want to give you all a BIG (((((((HUG)))))) and thank you for the love and prayer support.

JANELLE…JANE…AND THE OTHERS THAT CAME…..YOU ARE AWESOME AND MADE OUR DAY!!!!!!

From his girlfriend:

Thank you soo much for coming out to see us, I had a great day yesterday thanks to you and Janelle. You ladies both know how to brighten peoples days and show that you truly care about our Marines!! Thank you!!!  And the stocking and presents made me feel like I was at home again celebrating Christmas. – It was incredible!!  I felt like a huge sense of reality * For the first time in a long time*

THANK YOU!!!

Nate is making good progress in his recovery and he and his Sweetie are planning a wedding!

~ Jane

Bringing "Comforts of Home" to Bethesda (now Walter Reed NMMC) since 2005.