Wednesday, September 24, 2008


While my blog-father and fellow bloggers were hard at “work” in Las Vegas for the Milblog Conference this past weekend, the Soldiers’ Angels DC (WRAMC) Team and Jersey Team hosted 14 wounded warriors plus some of family members, to a few days at the Jersey Shore. What a wonderful weekend it was all around.

As MD said, there were a few hiccups……mostly concerning “the bus”. Ahhhh, “the bus”. The bus arrived a bit late and then circled around WRAMC for almost an hour. After many phone calls, KM went looking for it and finally located it. All was well—for a while.

The Jersey Gals had arranged a surprise for “the bus”. LO’s sister, Debbie, contacted the American Legion Riders and had arranged for a motorcycle escort up the Jersey Turnpike. Big hiccup here--The bus driver exited off the Delaware Memorial Bridge and did NOT take the NJ Turnpike exit. Now this normally would not have been a hiccup, but the bus was supposed to meet the riders at the first Turnpike rest stop. A larger hiccup ensued when the bus driver tried to find the way back to the Turnpike and took them way out of the way. Finally, the bus was turned around and they met the motorcycles. At any given time, there were between 30-100 motorcyclists escorting the bus and vehicle trailing it. Hiccup coming--The group accepted an invitation to stop at the Legion Post that put together the riders—which turned out to be a very good thing since the bus broke down!!! Thankfully, it made it to the Post where it stayed. A member contacted the local Board of Ed and the heroes arrived at the hotel in a school bus!!

The rest of the weekend was spent relaxing, walking the boardwalk, playing arcade games—just being away from the hospital atmosphere and enjoying themselves for a bit.

Friday night’s dinner was at the hotel restaurant where we presented 3 VALOUR-IT laptops—2 of the fellows were unaware they were receiving them and were very surprised. They all enjoyed the food and fun. Saturday, Jersey Angel RO hosted dinner for us all at her house. MMMMMMMMM, roast beef, ham, roasted potatoes….our warriors were in heaven—homecooking at RO’s house!

This trip did so much for these warriors and their family members. I’ve heard from a few them. One said it was the first time away with his wife since deployed; another—he’s going into the hospital for more surgery, so it was a needed time away; another had lost a family member recently and found the peace that was looked for while at the beach. As MD mentioned, another had his first look at the ocean. It was a healing weekend for minds and bodies.

The weekend couldn’t have gone off without the assistance and support of Patti, Soldiers’ Angels founder. Thank you! I’d also like to thank the following team members for their hard work—without you guys, this weekend would not have come off!! The DC Team: MD—DC (WRAMC) Area Coordinator, thank you for being the “bus queen” and getting those fellows on the bus and then keeping the bus driver on the proper route and being a proxy text receiver; JB—thank you for providing the “trail vehicle” and transporting the wheelchairs; KM—thank you for ALL you did (I do know what you did, you know!) I also know how much you like to text message LOL . The Jersey Gals: RO—thank you for opening your home and to cooking the most wonderful dinner. RO makes “the best ham” I’ve ever eaten!; LO—thank you for all the help, especially setting up for the arrival of the bus and motorcycles. To LO’s sister, Debbie—who arranged the motorcycle escort—Thank you! To Ann—thanks for all the work “in the kitchen”.

To all who helped make this weekend happen--THANK YOU!

The laughter shared by all of us—warriors and angels--was priceless.


Monday, September 22, 2008


Recently, I had the pleasure of being part of a small group who took some of our wounded warriors to the beach for the weekend. There was a great deal of planning and coordinating involved and though we experienced a couple of "hiccups", all went well in the end. There were a lot of people who helped make the trip a success: our fearless leader, LDR, who coordinated hotel rooms, transportation, meals and even a huge motorcycle escort for the second half of our trip, our very gracious local Angels who pulled out all the stops and hosted our wounded warriors for a delicious home cooked meal and many others who worked tirelessly to host our heroes for the weekend. There was plenty of laughter and joking around the entire weekend, as well as many wonderful conversations as we got to know each other a little bit better, but there is one moment that will forever stay in my heart:

Early one morning, I stood on the beach with one of our warriors, gazing out at the choppy waters under a beautifully clouded sky. As we stood watching for a few moments, he broke the silence by telling me this was the first time he had ever seen the ocean. Every ounce of effort put into this weekend was worth it to be able to share this one special moment with a warrior.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Farewell, Brave Warrior...

We witness miracles every day. Over time, we watch as our warriors, with unbelievable courage and determination, overcome injuries and illness that would defeat the best of us. It becomes clear from where the term "soldier on" came, as time and time again, we watch our warriors leave Walter Reed, reuniting with their loved ones or returning to duty.

Though their bodies may be broken, their spirits never are and they fight, with every ounce of their being to recover from the wounds of war. A sad reality of what we do though, is when our warriors' bodies succumb to the weakness of just being human.

Today, we heard the news that we lost another warrior. Someone who answered the call to serve our country, knowing full well the sacrifice that may be asked, had now made the ultimate sacrifice. Our hearts break as we realize you are no longer with us. While you walked among us, you graced us with your bravery, with your smile, with your kindness, with your warmth.

Your courage, strength of spirit and sacrifice will never be forgotten.

Rest in peace, brave warrior...