There are a heck of a lot of nice people doing good things for our service members at Walter Reed.
Mercy Hall has closed. The residents moved over to Sanctuary Hall, the new barracks, in the early summer, and food events aren’t allowed there. Base policy. Today was our first luncheon at the USO Warrior and Family Center.
We reserved a room in the new USO for today’s luncheon. Their volunteers were very helpful, checking in with us every so often to see if we needed anything. They stayed busy greeting people as they entered the building, making them feel at home, keeping the snack bar stocked for the guys and gals coming in, and a multitude of other things.
The Warrior Family Coordination Cell (WFCC), the office tasked with coordinating events in cooperation with the different service branches and the USO, sent a Sailor down to offer help, and then later during the event, stopped by to check on us again. Yes, they are military, doing the job they’re assigned, but they went out of their way to help us out.
Our volunteers: Colette took a day off from work to help and Connie re-arranged her work schedule so she could be there.
Samantha drove up from Norfolk to hand-deliver over 30 no-sew fleece blankets the TAMPA Marine Families made earlier this year at one of their musters, and she pitched in to help us set up and serve. The blankets that weren’t given away at the luncheon were left with the WFCC to go to good homes.
A few of our MM-B supporters are monthly supporters. If they could, they would be at the luncheons with us. Since they can’t, they help by supporting the luncheons monetarily.
Graul’s Market, in St. Michaels, Maryland very generously donated the chili and wings. A friend of Connie’s baked cookies. The volunteers also donated a lot of the food they brought with them.
Busy, busy, busy place, the USO. It was nice to see all the different activities going on for the service members and their families.
In addition to our luncheon, there was a retirement ceremony taking place for a Soldier, wounded, and he was 1) happy to see us, 2) impressed at the number of people who were coming to his ceremony, and 3) excited about retiring. It’s been a long road to recovery for him. Now a new journey is beginning…
One of the Sailors told us he loves the USO, comes down when he can instead of sitting in his barracks room, sometimes stays the whole day. There is a comfy seating area, a communal area with tables and chairs, and a computer area.
There is also a fully equipped kitchen area with snacks and drinks available and where service members can come and cook. This is where we made the rice, re-heated the wings and chili, and left the leftovers. Oh myyyyyy, we thought we were in heaven after being used to Mercy Hall and the 4th floor.
Not long after the Soldier’s retirement ceremony ended, a therapy/service dog group met in that room. One of the Soldiers and his beautiful German Shepherd stopped in to see what was up and had lunch with us before they headed next door. As I was walking to the kitchen area to empty the water out of the chafing dish, the blinds to the room were pulled pretty far down and all I could see were combat boots and furry paws. Lots of them.
We were almost finished packing up when a mom – or maybe she was a wife, or maybe she was a service member, I don’t know – came in and asked what color candy corn was. Well she knew the colors, just couldn’t remember the order of them. She had a dress pattern with her and was in the process of making a Halloween costume. When she left, she went into the room across the way where it looked like maybe there were sewing machines set up.
Another Sailor who came in as we were packing up was sitting at a table in the common area as we were leaving, with a pile of paperwork he was working on. He is hoping to be accepted into Officer’s School.
The Marines, Soldiers, Sailors, and family members we served loved the luncheon. One of the Sailors kept saying to us:
I can’t believe you did all this for us!”
I told him the luncheon was a thank you from people across the country who wished they could be there to say “Thank You” in person.
Cheese Platter & Guacamole
Chili & Toppings
Cornbread & Rice
Fresh Fruit Tray
Halloween Cupcakes & Cookies
Today’s Luncheon Crew: Samantha, Colette, and Connie. Thank you! Job Well Done!
We’re very grateful to have the opportunity to continue our Thursday luncheons at Walter Reed in the beautiful new USO, and very grateful for your support. Thank You!
We’re also grateful there are men and women who defend our country. As always, it’s an honor to serve them.
Our next luncheon is Sunday, November 9. We’ll be serving the 4th Floor patients and families and inviting 7 East patients, their families, and CCU combat families to join us to celebrate the Marine Corps’ 239th Birthday and Veterans Day.
Until next time, continued prayers for our military and their families.
Love and Hugs,