This evening, November 10, all over the country and beyond, Marines are celebrating their birthday. They weren’t born under a cabbage leaf, you know. They were born in a tavern. Tun Tavern.
And ever since, for 240 years, they’ve been Defending Freedom.
I had the pleasure of attending Choptank Marine Corps League Detachment’s Marine Corps Birthday Party at the VFW in Easton, MD tonight. The Detachment adopted Marine Moms-Bethesda back in 2009, supporting our mission at Bethesda, then Walter Reed after the two hospitals combined.
Gladys entered a contest the Chik-fil-A at Waugh Chapel in Gambrills, MD was holding. She wanted to use them for a luncheon. Winner would receive 50 chicken sandwiches. They ended up choosing 10 winners and Gladys was one of them!
Then we discovered Chik-fil-A isn’t open on Sundays. (GOOD for them!)
The Liaison Office was great and worked with us so we could host a Saturday luncheon. Thank you!
I arrived around 9:30 to set up the room. The Marine on Duty helped me arrange the room and lay out the tablecloths, she was great! Gladys and Bob arrived shortly after 11:00 with the hot sandwiches and they were definitely a hit! We were busy! Chik-fil-A even provided hot boxes to keep the sandwiches piping for the trip over and during the luncheon.
Thank you, Chik-fil-A at Waugh Chapel! What a wonderful show of support you provided for the patients and families at Walter Reed! You made their day!
Thank you also to Bob and Gladys for donating the sides, soup, and drinks served with the chicken sandwiches.
Chick-fil-A chicken sandwiches
cheese, hummus, and crackers
assorted desserts & assorted drinks
Until next time, continued prayers for our military and their families.
Shop online for your holiday “niftie-gifties” at The Spa Room using the code MarineMoms10 and they will donate 10% of your purchase to Marine Moms-Bethesda which will be used 100% toward our luncheons. You’ll receive a high-quality product while supporting our luncheons at Walter Reed!
As the year comes to a close and we enter the holiday season, I want to take a moment to personally say Thank You to you and the Marine Corps Moms for all of your hard work to benefit our community. The Spa Room would like to take this opportunity to support your mission.
This holiday season we are offering all of our previous non-profit partners a fundraising code. With this code, your organization will receive a 10% donation for every online gift certificate or product purchase made before January 1st.*
In addition to our massage gift certificates, we also have a lovely line up of all natural and organic bath & body products for every budget.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions- we would love to hear from you.
Mary & The Spa Room Team
The Spa Room has supported Marine Moms-Bethesda since 2011 when they chose us as a monthly non-profit partner. At the December 2011 Holiday Cheer event, through their caring generosity, we were able to present a New York Marine Mom with a gift certificate for two full massages. She, and her Marine who had been wounded in combat, had been the hospital ward close to a year with Dad visiting as often as possible. Mom was thrilled beyond words with the gift.
We are very grateful for the kindness and support of our mission The Spa Room shows to our warriors and their families recovering at Walter Reed. Thank you, Mary & The Spa Room Team!
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.
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.
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.
Pickles, olives, cheese and crackers
Gravy and Dressing
Chicken Tortellini Soup & Potato Soup
Sweet Potato Casserole
Smoothies and Assorted Drinks
although we didn’t have a Birthday Cake, we had…
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.
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!
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.
“Holiday Cheer” is one of our favorite events of the year!
Thinking about all of the “Elfs” involved, from our hands-on volunteers to the “Elfs” across the country who help make the event possible, it is overwhelming. Your support and help is deeply appreciated by those who are the recipients of your kindness.
The past several years we have held “Holiday Cheer” at Mercy Hall. However since the transition of Walter Reed to Bethesda, the dynamics at Mercy Hall have changed and we thought we could better serve our mission by hosting the luncheon on 4 Center, the 4th floor surgical ward, received permission to do so, and forward we went.
To our delight and complete surprise an Elf said, “Janie, pick up two chaffing dishes, a popcorn popper, two 6′ portable tables and a 4′ table. A check’s on the way to cover the cost.” When I opened the boxes to wash the chaffing dishes, I thought I had died and gone to Heaven. A very welcome addition to MM-B’s “Stash of Stuff” for the luncheons!!! Thank you SO much!!!
Plans for “Holiday Cheer” began this fall when the holiday card collection began. Information was sent out in our newsletter and on our Facebook page.
Many of our card “Elfs” send year after year. We begin receiving inquiries about them in August. Cards started coming in from all over the country in October. Lots and lots of cards from Florida this year thanks to Jan and her Florida “Elfs” getting the word out.
Always love the cards from “Our Lady of Victory School” in Baltimore – pre-K through 4th grade and their Girl Scout Troop. This is the third year they have participated in the card collection.
One group of cards came to us from Iowa; and there must have been 25 signatures from different people in each card, each signature with a different message to the troops. Screening the cards is one of my favorite things to do during “Holiday Cheer”. The messages are very heartwarming. Each card bundle had approximately 22 to 25 cards.
Once again, Chris and the Bayside Quilters’ Outreach Ladies made the stockings (and sent cards). Elf Jess did the shopping and with the help of Elf Bobbi and the crew from “Covers and Soles”, wrapped and filled them.
Bobby from “Covers and Soles” donated hand-knit socks for the stockings,
and “Snowman Soup”.
The Sunday after Thanksgiving, the Cookie “Elfs” packed 60 containers of cookies.
One dozen cookies in each container. BEAU COUP bunches this year. “Elfs” who said they would send 4 or 5 dozen cookies sent 10 and 12 dozen. (Guess what was dessert the day of the luncheon?)
Okie dokie, cards, stockings, cookies taken care of! Thank you, “Elfs”!
Menu: Pickles and olives, cheese platter, roast beef, ham, turkey breast, gravy, mashed potatoes, dinner rolls, macaroni and cheese, green bean casserole, garden salad, cranberry sauce, fruit salad, cake, cookies and brownies, and popcorn, assorted drinks and of course, smoothies.
When I heard Cyd and Kym from the T.A.M.P.A. group down in Florida were going to be in the area for the Semper Max Wounded Warrior Support Conference I invited them to join us for the luncheon. Cyd and I have “known” each other online for several years. I remember when the T.A.M.P.A. group started back in 2004.
Elf Jess offered very welcomed free seated massages to the families on 4 East. Cyd helped hand out the stockings and cards, kept the desserts flowing and the drink cart filled and helped wherever she saw a need.
Jack and Wayne from the Choptank Marine Corps League #439 were our “Santa Marines”.
They have helped out at Mercy Hall luncheons in the past but this was their first visit to the 4th floor. We love having them join us.
The “OOH RAH Girls”, Kym and Kelly made smoothies, popcorn and helped serve. This was Kelly’s first time with us. Her extra pair of helping hands were gratefully appreciated! Kym’s beautiful smile was as welcome as the Florida sunshine and 82 degree temps she had to leave to come North.
One of the really neat things that happened was when we gave a mom we met several luncheons ago the gift certificates that The Spa Room donated to us back in August. She and her son will use them.
Cathy, also a new volunteer, Connie, and Katie all seemed to escape the camera. They were not in one spot long enough to to stand still for a picture!
Katie and Connie went down to ICU and invited families up for lunch. While there, Connie had the opportunity to say hello to a family whose Soldier had attended the Naval Academy while her daughter was there.
We had the pleasure of meeting Shannon Maxwell from Semper Max. She put a little bug in my ear about the TBI guys… this got my mind whirling… looking forward to some special events just for them next year…
After the patients and families were served, we opened the luncheon up to the Caregivers – staff – of our Warriors. Many of them are also far from home and we were grateful for the opportunity to bring some “Holiday Cheer” to them as well.
Thinking about all of the people, donations, hours given from the heart by everyone involved to make this day so special was very humbling to me.
Thank you to our volunteers, our “Elfs” both local and across the country, to the caregivers, and most especially, Thank You to those who have sacrificed so much on behalf of their country and to their families who stand beside them.
Special Thanks To:
The Marine Corps Liaison Staff at Walter Reed NMMC, Choptank Marine Corps League # 439, Bayside Quilters – YOU LADIES ROCK!!, Bobbi and “Covers and Soles”, Torina, Jan Z., Mary T., Joanna and Joel, Barbara, and Edgar, and Don, Barb, and Deb McF., Maureen, Mr. Benson, Chris and Carey, Julie, Janelle, Jen, and Nicholas, and to our “Card Elfs” – Jan Z. and the Florida Roses, Barbara H. in AL, Torina and Friends in Utah, Sally in Texas, Terri in FL, Momma Dee in FL, Marilyn in Oregon, Ellen-Alisa in CO, Gramma Pam in CA, Mary Ann, DAV 101 and DAVA 101 in FL, the Brod and O’Bannon Families in IN, PMM of Cpl. Bradley in CO, Patricia and Friends in VA, Carrie in Wisconsin, Bayside Quilters in MD, and the Iowa Farm Crew, and I have a feeling I have unintentionally left someone out….
Today’s Luncheon Crew: Katie, Connie, Jess, Cathy, Kelly, Jack, Wayne, Cyd and Kym – Job WELL Done! Thank you!
Love and Hugs,
4 Comments on “Holiday Cheer 2011″ at Bethesda
1. William “Guy” Ellis on Sun, 18th Dec 2011 00:07
How can I make a cash donation? What goes on the Payee line? To what address do I send it?
2. Jane on Sun, 18th Dec 2011 23:59
A check or money order (no cash please) made out to “Marine Moms Bethesda” may be mailed to: Marine Moms Bethesda P.O. Box 22 Cordova, MD 21625 Thank you, Guy!
3. Cyd Deathe on Sun, 18th Dec 2011 21:08
Jane, What an honor it was to finally meet you in person (after all these years via the internet) and help with your wonderful Holiday event at the hospital.
You and your organization are doing wonderful things and we are so very proud to know you and be able to work hand and hand when wounded arrive.
Keep up the great work and hopefully sometime soon you can come down tojoin us for one of our events. Hint / Hint – 5th Annual Run For the Fallen Tampa in August of 2012
4. Jane on Sun, 18th Dec 2011 21:39
It was a pleasure having you with us, Cyd! So glad you and Kym were able to be there. Let me know when you have a date set for the Run For the Fallen!
We hope you enjoy today’s luncheon, made possible by Marine Moms-Bethesda Volunteers, The Easton Rotary Club in Easton, MD, Touch of Relief, and “Elfs” across the USA who care and would like to say “THANK YOU!”
This day brings back ten year old memories of a beautiful sunny morning. I was in the garden cutting flowers to make a bouquet to place in my Uncle’s casket. His funeral was to begin at 1100. I walked back into the house and saw on TV the second plane hit the Tower and knew immediately our country was at war.
Uncle Steve was a World War II Army Veteran. His Honor Guard that day included young men and women from all branches of the military. I remember thinking to myself as they folded the flag that covered him, “They will be going to war.” A few months later, we went to Afghanistan.
Actually, it wasn’t even a few months…
Our volunteers knew that many of the young men and women we would be serving were eight, nine, ten years old when the Twin Towers, the Pentagon and Flight 97 were attacked and thousands of innocent Americans were murdered.
We are very grateful to the Easton Rotary Club of Easton, MD for their sponsorship and help serving this luncheon, and to Touch of Relief for their soothing seated massages provided to family members and patients.
I met with the Rotarians who would be joining us – Jackie, Doug, Tim, Connie, Maureen, and Patti a month before the event, filling them in on whom we would be serving, what to expect, and explained our Code of Conduct, which all volunteers joining us are expected to follow.
Washington State Operation Thank You asked us to look for Josh so we did, and we found him and his Dad. We had a packet of notes for Josh along with the pantry bag of snacks and a beautiful quilt made by Bayside Quilters for him to give to his wife.
Janet and Lew coordinated the luncheon. Menu was lasagna, a pasta dish with tomato and sausage, Diane’s delicious potato soup, deviled eggs (they were being taste-tested by a mom before they had barely been set down on the luncheon table), cheese platter, salad, chips and dip and fresh fruit.
The desserts were, as always, luscious.
Thank you, Becky, Colleen, Diane, Mary Jane, and the cookie bakers for your contributions!
This was Sarah’s first visit with us so I grabbed her for a quick walk around the ward during a slow spell.
Signs and artwork on a door to a Corporal’s room.
I showed her where the massage therapists do the seated massages.
Jaime and Kelly had a little respite from doing their seated massages so Kelly worked on Jaime a little bit to get the kinks out.
They were working in one waiting rooms.
The waiting rooms have bookcases filled with games and books.
And comfortable chairs facing a big screen TV, with computer and internet access.
We couldn’t pass by the opportunity to take a picture of the Marine flag! A General and a Sergeant Major were there visiting their Marines and took a picture of two of our volunteers. Thank you!
We ended up back at the doorway to the luncheon room where the cart with the notes, quilts, and pantry bags are placed. They are handed out as the patient or family member leave the luncheon room.
Julie shopped for and packed the bags. Janet formatted the emailed notes into a word document, printed them out and packaged them up. Thank you, Ladies!
Not a whole lot of food leftover to label and stash in the pantry.
Fresh vegetables are always welcome.
They don’t last long after we leave!
We loaded up and I had to bug out early, leaving the crew recapping the events of the day. Our volunteers came from within a two hour radius of Bethesda and it is always a pleasure spending a few minutes after a luncheon catching up and chatting together.
Our MM-B volunteers are great. They all share in the work load, each one taking on tasks that make the luncheons so special, picking up where others run into glitches when needed.
It is heartwarming to see their care and concern for the patients and families, and each volunteer goes the extra mile to ensure their needs are met while we are there; whether it’s making sure they know where the pantry is or helping them carry things back to their rooms or just lending an ear to listen. . .
Today’s luncheon crew:
Janet, Lew, Katie, Stephanie, Elizabeth, Mary, and Sarah
With Jaime and Kelly from “Touch of Relief” Thank you! Job WELL done!
Each one of us brings something away from our time spent at the hospital, and we each have our own reasons for wishing to serve our HEROES by volunteering with the luncheons.
When someone says to me,
“I don’t know how you can continue to go month after month and see what you see,”
I think to myself,
“How can I not? If those of us who can – don’t – then who will?”
Whether it is volunteering at a military or VA hospital, planning special events for homecomings or to recognize Veterans from past wars, writing letters and sending care packages, making neck coolers to send to “over there” as the temps rise above 100 degrees, or organizing a support group for families, or sending food back to the base with your son as he heads back after a weekend home, or standing in a flag line at a funeral, posting a message on a legacy page for a Fallen Hero, or inviting 12 Marines to your home and enlisting the whole town to provide the support to give them the best weekend they’ve had in a long time, or supporting those who do any of these things – all is needed and all is appreciated more than most of us will ever know – unless we ourselves have been there/done that…
To see the patience of a father as he helps his son into a wheelchair to go to physical therapy – the time it takes, the effort it takes… neither one complaining…
To listen to a girlfriend express her feelings about the war and her boyfriend losing both of his legs…
To see a mom again – for the sixth luncheon…
To watch our volunteers come together and pull off yet another fabulous meal to honor service members and their families who have sacrificed so much…
After leaving Bethesda, I stopped by a friend’s house. Gladys and Bob were hosting a BBQ for their Marine Corps League Detachment and had invited me to stop by on the way home. The Detachment was honoring one of their members who was headed “over there” very soon…
This war on terror is going on ten years now… and actually before then, but many of us just didn’t realize it and some still don’t.
Every service member serving right now volunteered to do so.
I am grateful for the opportunity to show support to the Marines, Soldiers, and Sailors we meet at the hospital.
Today’s luncheon was a very powerful one to me.
6/8/2011 – I received an update from Josh’s Aunt the other day that included a video made by a friend of their family.
After following his recovery since the end of April, watching this video was very special! I just wanted to stand up and cheer for Josh!!!