Barb suggested a BBQ, Mary thought it was a great idea and Don offered to do the grilling, so two fronts for this luncheon – the grills over at Mercy Hall and the conference room on the 4th floor. A first for us for a 4 East luncheon! The question was: Could we pull this off?
Plan of Attack:
- Arrive at 9:30.
- Unload -15 minutes.
- Mary, Jillian, Barb and Gladys take stuff upstairs and begin setting up.
- Don and Jane go over and get the grills ready.
- Clean grills – 15 minutes.
- Coals heat up – 15 minutes (We’re up to 10:15; serving at 11:00.)
- Jane to go back to the luncheon room to finish helping with set up.
- Don to call Barb when the first batch of hamburgers and hot dogs are finished cooking.
- Grill half of the stuff -20 minutes. (We’re up to 10:35.)
- Begin serving at 11:00.
- Grill the other half of the stuff – 20 minutes. (11:05)
- +15 minutes for Semper Gumby stuff (cause we know it always happens, right? 11.20.)
- Don finishes grilling and is back to the luncheon room by 11:30.
Arrived on time. Unloaded on time and the Liaison office had three carts! Yes!!! We took the stuff upstairs then Don and I headed over to Mercy Hall, unloaded, and oh joy! We were able to park at the end of the building instead of the parking garage. This saved us 10 or 15 minutes.
Front 1: The grilling. We cleaned the old coals out of the grills, loaded them up with the huge bags of charcoal and then, Sempeeeeeeeeer Guuuuuuuumby…
Don: “Did you bring starter fluid to start the coals?”
Jane: “It’s Matchlit…………… aw maaaaaaaaaaan!!!!!!!! I didn’t…!!!!!!!!”
Jane: “I DID!”
We had two huge bags of regular charcoal and one little bag of Matchlite leftover from past luncheons. I didn’t even think of the starter fluid when we were packing the car, had the Matchlite on my mind, and thank goodness Jerry included the little bag of Matchlite in the car just in case we needed extra charcoal. So we split the Matchlite between the two grills and sorta kinda got the coals going. I left Don to head back over to the luncheon room.
As I was going through Mercy Hall the guy on duty, who was very nice, had helped us unload, asked me if there was anything else he could help us with.
Jane: “Mmm…. you don’t by any chance have starter fluid for charcoal, do you?”
He did! He saved the day! When I left, Don had the coals going really good. It was about 10:35 by now. Plans always look good on paper, don’t they?
Meanwhile, Front 2: In the luncheon room, the ladies were busy setting the tables up.
And after that, who knows what time we were at according to the Battle Plan. The first batch of hamburgers and hot dogs arrived shortly after 11:00 and we began serving around 11:20 and all was well. Families were ready to come in and once they came in, the cameras were put away until things slowed down again. Their privacy is very important to us.
The menu was hamburgers, hot dogs, and brats with all kinds of fixin’s for them, two kinds of baked beans, cheesy potatoes, corn on the cob, cole slaw, potato salad, the best macaroni salad ever, fresh fruit salad, tossed salad, PB&J sandwiches, pickles, olives, and a cheese tray, brownies, cupcakes, and snickerdoodles, smoothies, and assorted drinks and water.
About the time we began packing up Brother Dave stopped in to say hello.
He has been volunteering at Bethesda since at least 2006 and every once in awhile our paths will cross. It is always so nice to see him.
Not long after we saw Brother Dave, Sgt. Major Ploskonka stopped in to say hello. He was there visiting the wounded Warriors.
We really enjoyed speaking with the patients and families. I thought Don would be lonely all by himself over at the grills but I should have known better. He made a friend, one of the guys who lives there kept him company.
Meeting people from all over the country is interesting. I try to guess where they are from by their accent – or if they have cowboy boots on. I think the Alabama accent is almost like the Tennessee accent… and then there’s the New Jersey accent which is one of a kind, and the West Virginia accent reminds me of “home”. Did the Army mom from Arizona bring today’s sunshine and warm temps with her? (If you did, Thank You!!!) The Warriors and their families – God Bless Them All.
The combat surgical wing at Bethesda/Walter Reed is the beginning of a new journey for most of them. For others, it is a return for additional surgeries and follow up. Sadly, not everyone who makes to Walter Reed makes it home for a happy homecoming… a very few succumb to the infections that set in or their bodies just cannot handle the injuries they sustained. This is one of the reasons we continue collecting notes of support month after month to hand out during our luncheons. They may be the last thing they read. I was astounded when my husband came home from Rolling Thunder a few weeks ago, and out of the 1,000′s of people there, he told me he had met a Gold Star Mom who had been to one of our luncheons – three years ago, whose son did not make it. (And if you are reading this, Mom, Thank You!!! xoxo)
It is such an honor to serve our Warriors and their Families. And so very humbling.
To Marine Moms-Bethesda’s Supporters, thank you so much for supporting these luncheons. We could not do this without you, and your support is VERY much appreciated by the wounded Warriors and their families. The luncheons are a tremendous morale booster for them.
We are not serving one branch of the military or one specific unit. We are serving our Nation’s sons and daughters from the Marines, Navy, Army and Air Force. Coast Guard, too, if they are there.
Our annual quilt raffle is going on right now. “Stars and Bars Forever” was donated to us by Bayside Quilters to raise money for the luncheons. (Thank You!!!) 100% of the funds raised from it will directly support the luncheons.
None of us receive compensation for what we do, other than reimbursement for the food and supplies needed specifically for the luncheons. Often we add to them out of our pocket. Today’s luncheon came in at just over $730.00. I don’t know how we do it. But we do. With your help. Thank you!
One day – hopefully – the combat ward will be empty, other than regular medical needs. The needs of our war Veterans will not end when the war ends, though, and I hope our country keeps it’s promises to them. I would like for Marine Moms-Bethesda to still be around 50 years, 75 years from now, serving our Veterans and their families. Perhaps the mission would be a little different. Our young service members and wounded Warriors of today will be like our World War II generation today. Wars may end, but the needs continue.
Today’s luncheon crew: Don, Barb, Mary, Jillian and Gladys. Thank You! Job WELL Done!!!
Until next time, continued prayers for our military and their families.
Love and Hugs,