Category Archives: 2011

December 1, 2011: “Holiday Cheer at Bethesda 2011”

Marine Moms-Bethesda Holiday Cheer 2011 logo







“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.

Chafing dishes from an "Elf".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.  sorting-the-cards





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.  cards-all-tied-up-in-ribbon






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.

stocking stuffers

Stockings all stuffed





Continue reading December 1, 2011: “Holiday Cheer at Bethesda 2011”

November 13, 2011 – 4th Floor Marine Corps 236th Birthday, Veterans Day, and Thanksgiving

center pieceAll Rolled into One!




These are the oaths our military take when they place their “John Hancock” on the dotted line.

The Oath of Enlistment for the Armed Forces (except the Army and Air National Guard):

“I, (NAME), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”

The Oath of Enlistment for Air and Army National Guard:

“I, (NAME), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the State of (STATE NAME) against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the Governor of (STATE NAME) and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to law and regulations. So help me God.”

They have pledged on their word of honor that they will defend our Constitution, and the oath does not end when their DoD contract is up.  As a Marine said to me when I congratulated him on receiving his DD-214 and not having to worry any longer about being called back, he said, “Yeah, thanks, as long as there’s not a WW III.”

On October 21, 2011, President Obama stated that all of the troops will be home from Iraq by the end of the year.

I hope they don’t have to go back.

We owe our military a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid.  Thank you for serving.

Purple Heart signs at Walter Reed
Purple Heart signs at Walter Reed







As always, it was an honor to serve our combat wounded, their families, and the staff that cares for them on 4 East at WR/Bethesda just a few days after the 236th Birthday of the Marine Corps and Veterans Day!  Continue reading November 13, 2011 – 4th Floor Marine Corps 236th Birthday, Veterans Day, and Thanksgiving

October 16, 2011 – Richmond VA Medical Center: Road Trip!

center piece

Up at OH-dark-thirty to reach Janet’s by 8:00 AM.  Took I-95 this time instead of 301 and made it in two hours… then anther hour from Janet’s.

Coming home, took Rt. 301 straight home and it took me 5 hours…

Beltway driving coming in from northern Virginia is not my favorite thing to do… may have to just gather my courage and do that next time, though.  If i can drive “The 5″ in California…

Janet, Mike, Lew, Carol, Mary Jane and I met in the parking lot at Hunter-Holmes McGuire and our contact took us over to the entrance to the multipurpose room where the luncheon would take place.

Wow… we were impressed!  Continue reading October 16, 2011 – Richmond VA Medical Center: Road Trip!

October 9, 2011 – 4 East: Busy, Busy, Busy!

Yikes!  Four events this month!  4 East, Richmond, Mercy Hall and volunteering at the Marine Corps Marathon!

Gladys, Bob, Shirley, Katie and I started the month off with a “tween” on 4 East.  Now the “tweens” are *supposed* to be laid back luncheons, just light food with fewer volunteers, and none of the “extras” we bring in like the Notes, pantry bags, quilts, and whatever we can come up with at a regular luncheon.  The “tweens” have turned into a little more than “light fare”, though, because of our wonderful volunteers’ enthusiasm!


Setting up the room

We were busy from the time we arrived and didn’t have time for pictures once we got moving.

The menu was assorted sandwiches, ham, assorted rolls and cornbread, pasta salad, potato salad, fruit salad, garden salad, olives and pickles, and assorted desserts.  Of course we had the smoothies and drinks.  Shirley brought some food “Famous Dave’s” sent along with her — barbecued chicken and ribs, cole slaw, baked beans, and cotton candy – a humongous bag full of pink cotton candy!  This turned out to be a real hit and we were amazed it all disappeared… Who would have thought???

Families and patients were served first.  We caught up with some families and patients who have been there awhile and we made new friends, too. Continue reading October 9, 2011 – 4 East: Busy, Busy, Busy!

September 11, 2011 – 4th Floor: 9/11

My “Note 4 Bethesda” this month began:

“September 11, 2011

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…

soldier in afghanistan DoD photo
DOD photo taken when we first entered Afghanistan







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.

Thank you for your service cake






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.

Under Jackie’s guidance, the Rotary Club had already begun collecting items for the pantry bags. Continue reading September 11, 2011 – 4th Floor: 9/11

August 21, 2011 – Richmond PTRP: Headed South!

Bethesda to Richmond

One of our visions for Marine Moms-Bethesda has been to expand our mission to other military hospitals and VA medical centers.

We knew patients from Bethesda sometimes were moved to Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center in Richmond, Virginia to the spinal cord or polytrauma unit for the next step on their long road to recovery.

Last summer we learned about PTRP from Marines at Mercy Hall who had spent some time there.  With some of our volunteers living closer to Richmond than they do to Bethesda, this seemed like the next logical step for expansion.

Where there are wounded Marines, there is a Marine Detachment. There is a saying, “Marines Take Care of Their Own” and this extends to the Marines injured in war at VA hospitals.

It was good to see there is also an Army Liaison at Richmond VA Medical Center and nice to know that the Marine and Army Liaisons work together as needed to bring the best possible experience to all of our Warriors and their families.

I made contact with the Gunnery Sergeant and he was enthusiastic about a possible luncheon there.

“I take personal gratification in knowing that our Marine Corps community continues to run deep in the welfare of wounded, ill and injured Marines along with their families.”

We set a date, and early in July, Janet and I drove down to Richmond to tour the facility to see if hosting luncheons there would be feasible. Continue reading August 21, 2011 – Richmond PTRP: Headed South!

August 18, 2011 – Mercy Hall: BBQ and Quilt Raffle

Mercy Hall door signGreeting us at the doorway to Mercy Hall was this sign.  The transition has begun!






One of the first orders of business after we arrived was drawing the name of the raffle winner.  Jared, who had drawn the name last year, was there again this year and we were able to enlist his help.

2011 Marine Moms-Bethesda raffle drawing









The winner was Continue reading August 18, 2011 – Mercy Hall: BBQ and Quilt Raffle

July 24, 2011 – 5 East: ARE YOU HUNGRY???

July 5 East buffetThe empty table was filled to the brim with scrumptious food!  Sausage cheese appetizers and a fresh veggie tray; potato soup, chicken wings and bourbon chicken, Sloppy Joes, a garden salad, fresh fruit, southern green beans, pasta salad, sweet cole slaw, Rice Krispy treats, cookies (including peanut butter cookies for a Marine we heard was craving them), assorted drinks and of course, smoothies.

The luncheon went well and the families and patients were very appreciative of the food and the nifty gifties, with one highlight being the 54 movie DVDs from Mary’s friend, a fire fighter in New York City.

It was touching to watch the family members pick through the movies carefully, looking for the perfect movie for their sons or husbands, or in one case, for their big brother.  They do not think about themselves – they think about their Loved Ones.  One of the dads told me after his son had watched the movie, he was going to Continue reading July 24, 2011 – 5 East: ARE YOU HUNGRY???

July 10, 2011 – 5 East: Another “Tween”!

Marine Moms-BethesdaJanet and Lew coordinated the event, and Lew, Katie, and Julie  hosted it.

Menu: Tuna salad and chicken salad sandwiches; potato salad; baked beans; cole slaw; stuffed eggs; Texas Caviar with tortilla chips, fruit salad, chips, olives and pickles, brownies and cookies, drinks, and smoothies.

Special thanks to Janet’s friends – Coleen, Kay, Tina, and the Campbell family for their help with the meal.

Here’s Katie’s report:

     Lew got there first and had 2 carts upstairs, was setting up when Julie and I arrived.  When I got to the 5th floor to get a cart from Lew the floor was very busy with lots of family in the halls and TV room.  I started to let families know as soon as I saw them who we were and that we would would be serving a light lunch at noon.  Then I saw the Marine on Duty… he was already telling families were we there.  Lew had talked with him when he came in.  

     We kept the door closed and got the food set up, make two blenders of smoothies, one blueberry and one strawberry.  We had a long line of families when we opened up to serve about 12:10.  People were very friendly and talkative.

     We ran out of the two blenders of smoothies right away and made more.  The fresh fruit bowl and the fresh whole peaches went right away.  The baked beans and potato salad were all a hit.  The Texas Caviar was all gone as well.  Desserts?  I think they were all gone???  We only had a little bit of food leftover to put in fridge, some were olives, some were beans, some were sliced tomatoes.

     Lew was able to get out to see some of the Wounded on our list after the families went thru the lunch line.  I was able to talk with all of families at the door, Julie got to talk with some in the pantry and hall.  At the end when all was packed up Julie and I went to see Jason, talked with his mom for a long time, never did get to talk with Jason as his doctors came in.  Julie and I then went down to see Michael and his fiancee.  We left the hospital at 3pm.  Lew left about 20 – 30 minutes earlier.

     Thanks to everyone today, great team work!  Janet thanks for all you did to make today happen, missed you.  Big thank-you to your wonderful friends and neighbors!

     We didn’t have a camera today with us……sorry no pictures. 


Thank you Janet, Lew, Katie and Julie!  Job Well Done!

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

Love and Hugs,





June 23, 2011 – Mercy Hall: just notes this time

Just notes this time.  Sorry, no camera, no pictures.

Roster:  Kate, Grace, Robin, Sally, Janet, and Jaime from “Touch of Relief” to do massages.  Thank you! Job well done!

Menu:  Texas Caviar and scoops, fresh veggie tray to takeover to 5 East, pork BBQ and rolls,  chicken noodle casserole, salad and dressings, corn on the cob, green beans, watermelon, oranges, and bananas, dessert, smoothies, soda, Gatorade and fruit juice.

Yay!  Reserved parking!

Smaller crowd than usual – turns out some of the Marines at Mercy Hall have internships on different days during the week around DC.

Some families came over from 5 East.  One of them has been there since November.

The road to recovery is long.  Thank you for supporting our mission.

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

Love and Hugs,