Third Annual Soldiers Home Card Delivery Sparks Good Cheer

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Friends of the Soldiers Home partnered with the DC Homeschool Cooperative Dec. 16 to for the third annual Holiday Card and Caroling Party at the Armed Forces Retirement Home-DC. About 20 children from the neighborhood and several of their parents spread a great deal of holiday cheer. They delivered hundreds of holiday greeting cards made by the children to residents all throughout the new Scott Building. They included visiting and singing along the way! This has become a wonderful tradition and another nice way to say thank you to our veterans. Thanks to all who came out for being such nice neighbors!

Story and photos by Mary Bucci

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Best Holiday Party Has Ballet Dancers, Band and Wine From Friends

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The annual Soldiers Home holiday tree lighting party Dec. 9 was the best in the four years Friends of the Soldiers Home has been privileged to co-sponsor it. We are proud to have connected earlier this year with Kirov Academy of Ballet, which stunned the audience with a beautiful and moving performance. “The President’s Own” U.S. Marine Band Brass Quintet also played a wonderful mini-concert with holiday music that captured the spirit of the season. More than 40 guests of Friends of the Soldiers Home brought wine to share with veterans. Friends continued the annual tradition of presenting a wreath to the Home as a gift. A number of children looked wide-eyed at the ballet dancers and Santa and Mrs. Claus, giving the event a family feel. There was just one problem. How will next year’s event possibly top this year’s? We give thanks to Kirov and the Quintet for their great performances, and we congratulate the veterans and staff of the Armed Forces Retirement Home-DC for putting together such a beautiful, fun event.

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Holiday Version of Saloon Night Cheers Veterans at Soldiers Home DC

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saloon.funSaloon Night with Friends, the holiday version, got veterans into the spirit of the season with toasting, dancing and an overall good time. Friends of the Soldiers Home brought beer and volunteers, and the Home’s resident DJ extraordinaire, Billy White, supplied the tunes. What more was needed? Just the laughter, smiles and fun that ensued. Too bad — Saloon Nights are over for 2014. The good news is we’ll be back with the next one on Jan. 6 2015! We love these Saloon Nights as small, but wonderful, ways to say thank you to our veteran friends at the Armed Forces Retirement Home-D.C. campus.

Photos by Kerry Hamblin and Carol Mitchell

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33rd Time Is Charm for Friends, Veterans on Jingo Night

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Two Soldiers Home residents, Ms. Bradford and Mr. Coleman, continued their Jingo winning streak with the assistance of Friends volunteers Ada Loo and Eric Schaefer at this month’s get together. This is nothing new; Ms. Bradford and Mr. Coleman sat at the same table together and swept last month’s Jingo, too! The Thanksgiving- and Christmas-themed Jingo games on Nov. 13 marked the last time Friends of the Soldiers Home and residents will get together for the activity until 2015. But the year was ended on the right note, with a dozen Friends partnering with residents for a great time! It was the 33rd time Friends and residents got together for Jingo games since Friends was founded in November 2011.

Story and photos by Lori Lincoln.

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Friends, Bloomberg Team Up to Salute Veterans With Trip to Gala Concert

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mmgFriends of the Soldiers Home partnered with Bloomberg to take 25 veterans to The 2014 National Veterans Day Concert Nov. 9 in Alexandria, Va. Soldiers Home residents particularly enjoyed Deana Martin, the daughter of Dean Martin, who ran through some of her father’s classics, such as “Everybody Loves Somebody Sometimes.” Spanish tenor Sergi Gimenez Carreras was also a hit with numbers such as “O Sole Mio (de Capua).” CNN’s Jake Tapper handled hosting duties at the event presented by the Medical Music Group Chorale and Symphony Orchestra. Bloomberg supplied transportation, helped with volunteers and treated all the veterans to lunch at TGI Fridays before the show. As we prepared to celebrate Veterans Day, Friends was grateful to have had an opportunity to show appreciation to the men and women who have served. We thank Bloomberg for making it possible.

Photos by Victoria Cerullo and John Hughes

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The Returns Are In — Veterans Win in Election Night Trivia With Friends

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trivia4Lots of people had their eyes on election returns the evening of Nov. 4 but veterans and community volunteers were pondering difficult questions. “How many U.S. presidents have received the Medal of Honor?” “In what year were women first allowed to vote?” Political-military trivia dominated Saloon Night With Friends, as veterans and community members got together for their monthly celebration. (In the photos below you can get a rare glimpse at questions and answers prepared by our trivia master, the one and only Zach Hartman. How would you have done?) This was the 24th Saloon Night since the Friends and the Armed Forces Retirement Home-Washington jointly created this special activity two years ago. Friends of the Soldiers Home picked up the tab for pizza, drinks and snacks, thanks to support from the community. But it’s the friendship and fun that trumps all. On election night, the Friends were proud to give back to people whose military sacrifice helped make democracy possible. Check out Saloon Night, the first Tuesday of each month, by dropping a line to Lori Lincoln at volunteerfriendsofsoldiers(@)gmail.com.

Story and photos by John Hughes

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Spoooooky Happy Hour Finds Home Residents in Celebratory Mood

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10-27-2014 HalloweenFriends of the Soldiers Home joined Armed Forces Retirement Home-Washington residents for Happy Hour during the week of Halloween. Residents clearly enjoyed seeing some of the Friends in costume –- and all had a wonderful evening chatting, listening to bad jokes and hearing good music.  Come and join us when we meet Nov. 25!  So many residents thank us for joining them in conversation and for having genuine interest in how they are doing and what’s going on in their life.  To join us and enjoy the evening, drop a note to Volunteer Coordinator Lori Lincoln at volunteerfriendsofsoldiers (at) gmail.com

Story and photos by Liz Cocke

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Friends Hosts Hospitality Tent for Home Residents to Enjoy Bike Race

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A dozen Armed Forces Retirement Home-Washington residents came down to the southwest corner of their 250-acre campus Oct. 19 to enjoy free hot chili, chips, cookies and drinks supplied by Friends of the Soldiers Home. The goal of the Friends VIP Hospitality Tent was to encourage residents to come out and enjoy an annual activity that has been happening on their campus for several years — the DCCX Cyclocross Race. The chilly day undoubtedly kept some residents from venturing out, but those who did enjoyed watching the race in the company of friends!

Pictured in photo below, left to right, residents Lloyd Bylund and Phil Ford, and volunteers Zach Hartman, Lori Lincoln and Jeffrey Knudsen and Jeffrey’s daughter Autumn; in the other photo, the Friends banner marked the hospitality tent.

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Pre-Fall Fest Happy Hour Brought Full House of Friends, Residents

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Resident telling jokes.

Resident telling jokes.

We had plenty of residents join us for Happy Hour on Tuesday night, Sept. 30. Residents enjoyed the company of other residents and Friends of the Soldiers Home volunteers — and they even enjoyed some bad jokes!  Everyone welcomed Glenn Hamilton – enjoying his first day at the Armed Forces Retirement Home with his daughter and son-in-law. As the photos show below, resident Ron decided to show us his Shrek imitation; one resident took the mike and told some of his own jokes; and new resident Glenn learned just what happens at Happy Hour. The Friends and residents also enjoyed the help of a wonderful set of volunteers from Catholic University. Come and join us this fall as we move inside for Happy Hour. We meet the last Tuesday of every month – serving residents, enjoying conversation and welcoming new residents. Our next Happy Hour will be right before Halloween on Oct. 28 — might be spoooooky. Write Lori Lincoln at volunteerfriendsofsoldiers (at) gmail.com if you would like to help!

Story and photos by Liz Cocke.

Ron pretending he's Shrek.

Ron pretending he’s Shrek.

Catherine greets Glenn - a new resident.

Catherine greets Glenn – a new resident.

Everyone together.

Everyone together.

Home Residents, Community Enjoy Fall Fun Fest Together on Oct. 5

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Fall Fun Fest was a huge success on Sunday, Oct. 5, with more than 1,400 people enjoying German music, dancing, beer, food, a pumpkin patch, antique cars and much more at the Armed Forces Retirement Home in Washington. Weather was gorgeous for this first annual event, which was an expanded version of the Oktoberfest of 2012. The campus was beautiful, and the friendship of many Home residents who came down to enjoy the day was on display. Friends of the Soldiers Home participated with several organizations in delivering the day’s events. Thanks to all who came out and participated! Enjoy the photos by Linda Lawson.

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