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.