Friends, Veterans Enjoy Wonderful August Weather for Happy Hour


Story and photos by Liz Cocke.  

Happy Hour in August – what a wonderful time. Hot dogs, sodas, beer, and blue skies – what else could anyone ask for? Perhaps some great conversation with Friends of the Soldiers Home and the residents? We had that too. Everyone had a great evening Aug. 26 – with smiles on their faces, remarks about great hot dogs – and several new Friends who joined us for the first time and were delighted with the experience. Come and join us – we’d love to see you. To get on the Friends volunteer e-mail list, write volunteerfriendsofsoldiers(at)gmail(dot)com.





Lincoln’s Cottage Hosts Family Day, 5K in September


Freedom5K_LOGO_small-1024x555Our friends at Lincoln’s Cottage are hosting two September events — the annual Family Day on Saturday, Sept. 13 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and the first-annual Freedom 5K XC on Saturday Sept. 27 at 8 a.m. One of the many things that makes the Armed Forces Retirement Home-D.C. special is that Lincoln’s Cottage is located on the grounds. Family Day features free activities on the Cottage grounds including the U.S. Army Brass Quintet, a petting zoo and the chance for kids to make a stovepipe hat. The 5K, led by legendary runner Joan Benoit, costs $40, but if people sign up by this coming Wednesday, Aug. 27, the cost is $30. Proceeds support Cottage programs and initiatives, such as the Students Opposing Slavery program. See:

Friends Marks 30th Jingo With Cake, Fun and Lots of Kids



jingo814Back in December 2011, some neighbors who live near the Armed Forces Retirement Home-DC got together to volunteer for the first time at something called Big Bucks Bingo. We didn’t realize it, but a tradition was born. Thursday, Aug. 14, marked the 30th time Friends of the Soldiers Home provided volunteers for our monthly game night, now Jingo instead of Bingo. While Friends does many different things, Jingo remains our flagship event. And we haven’t had to cancel yet because of a lack of volunteers, thanks to the wonderful people who come forward. Some of our august, albeit more physically challenged veteran friends need help hearing the clues, seeing their game boards or understanding when they’ve won, so the more volunteers who come, the more veterans are able to play. Thursday may have been our best night yet, as 15 volunteers came forward! Volunteer John Salatti made the evening special by sharing some of his special birthday cake. The night was also fun because it included seven children! This month we feature photos of some of the kids, and residents — Mr. Burroughs and April, Mr. Dozier and De’von, and Mr. Mosesso and Mercer. Photos courtesy of Lori Lincoln, who is the person you should contact if you want to be part of this fun at volunteerfriendsofsoldiers(at)gmail(dot)com.




Veterans, Friends Grow Vegetables Together — Then Celebrate


gardenpic5Armed Forces Retirement Home-DC gardeners recently got together with Friends of the Soldiers Home volunteers for a spectacular picnic. We had corn, cucumbers and ripened tomatoes grown through the Friends-AFRH garden project at the picnic tables. The event encouraged numerous new veteran faces to come down for the comfortable breeze and cold beverages. Gardening and non-gardening residents snatched spots with a neighborhood view under breezy trees in chairs and picnic tables. AFRH Garden Director Lori Thompson brought all the vital vittles and fire making to ensure a successful BBQ. Garden volunteers like Ellen Hughes helped with cooking, kindly purchased drinks and helped serve. The garden of AFRH resident Terry supplied all of the corn and then some. Terry has some popcorn on the way. Maybe we’ll have some homegrown, homemade popcorn at the next social! Story and photos by Ken Rubotzky.


Friends, Veterans Come Out Winners in Trivia Saloon Night


The Defender’s Inn on the Soldiers Home DC campus was a lively place Tuesday, Aug. 5 as veterans and Friends of the Soldiers Home got together for the monthly Saloon Night. The entertainment this time around was a trivia competition. Questions ranged from what is the Diamond State (Delaware) to what is the only medal with the words `of valour’ on it (Victora Cross) and who won the most Academy Awards (Walt Disney). In the end, team Mensa was tied with the Old somethings for the lead. That brought an overtime question on how many voting members are there in the U.S. House excluding delegates. The Old somethings were first to answer 435 and hence were the victors! Everyone wins, however, when the community and veterans get together.

Photos: Sheila Marshall Story: John Hughes




Summer Breezes, Beautiful City Views Meet Great Conversation at Happy Hour


7-29-14eStory and Photos by Liz Cocke. 

Tuesday, July 29th, was a lovely evening – and the rooftop of the Scott Building was a great place to spend it – as a dozen Friends volunteers gathered with veterans of our country and residents of the Armed Forces Retirement Home-Washington. The rooftop terrace provided lovely breezes and views of the city; residents provided wonderful stories of all aspects of their life and service, and Friends of the Soldiers Home served drinks, engaged in conversation and told their own stories. And what lovely weather! Who would have dreamed of a breezy, almost cool evening in Washington the last week of July?! Come and join us the last Tuesday night every month for Happy Hour at the Soldiers Home. If you are interested, write Lori Lincoln at volunteerfriendsofsoldiers (at)





Friends Shares Soldiers Home Natural History With 30 Students


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Phil Blair captures students' attention when he talks about how the geology of the campus developed.

Phil Blair captures students’ attention when he talks about how the geology of the campus developed.

Friends of the Soldiers Home helped link the American history of the veterans’ campus with its natural history. After students from Michigan State University and Mississippi State University toured President Lincoln’s Cottage on Saturday, Friends arranged a walk for them with naturalists Mary Pat Rowan and Philip Blair. The students were able to explore geologic, aquatic and woodland features of the site as part of their coursework on “Elements of Federal Policy Development in the Natural Resources Arena.” Mary Pat and Phil lead similar naturalist tours for the Friends as part of the Spring Fling celebration each May. Friends would like to thank veterans of the Home for opening their space for this wonderful educational endeavor. We also thank the students’ instructor, Executive in Residence Mark Rey, for making this historic and important campus a part of the students’ study.

Photos by Isabelle Hughes.

Students learned about the ancient, underground Tiber River on campus and previous efforts to channel waterflows.

Students learned about the ancient, underground Tiber River on campus and previous efforts to channel waterflows.

Mary Pat Rowan gestures to surrounding trees as she talks about the property as an example of a healthy upland forest.

Mary Pat Rowan gestures to surrounding trees as she talks about the property as an example of a healthy upland forest.

Friends, Bloomberg and the Home Treat Residents to Kastles Tennis



tennis3Thanks to Bloomberg Philanthropy, Friends of the Soldiers Home was able to treat 10 Armed Forces Retirement Home residents to a night with the Washington Kastles. Our veteran friends really enjoyed themselves in the sold-out arena. Venus Williams, one of the all-time great women’s tennis players, won her doubles match and lost her singles contest by a singles point. We would like to thank the staff of the Armed Forces Retirement Home for their assistance, including the arranging of transportation to and from the arena. Just the same as the Kastles’ victory, this was a team effort all the way!

Photos courtesy of the Armed Forces Retirement Home.



Veteran World Travelers Ace Jingo Night With Friends Volunteers


Jingo710“World Geography” was the name of the game when Friends of the Soldiers Home gathered with residents for their monthly Jingo Night. The fun part was that several of the players had been around the world during their time in the military. They excitedly called out the answers that were the names of places where they had once lived or served. New volunteer Ada Loo was the good luck charm for the Friends, as everyone at her table won at least one round. Below, Ada is pictured with one of her new veteran friends, Richard. To hear of volunteer opportunities, write volunteerfriendsofsoldiers (at)

Photo and story by Lori Lincoln.

July 4 Celebration Brings Together Community, Veterans on Historic Campus


IMG_2136Could July 4 have been any more fun? Thanks to more than 3,000 of you who came out and celebrated. Once again, D.C. with all its amazing diversity came together for a low-key, family-friendly celebration of fishing with Trout Unlimited, great food and dancing to DJ Billy White. The Hortonville, Wisconsin marching band, courtesy of Music Celebrations, was fabulous. People enjoyed relaxing, running around and viewing fireworks. Our veteran friends had a wonderful time. We thank the veterans and staff of the Armed Forces Retirement Home for opening the beautiful campus to the public. We thank our sponsors, GreenLine and Safeway, for making this possible.We thank more than 30 Friends of the Soldiers Home volunteers who worked hard at the event — you are the best. Thanks to Mary Bucci, our Friends vice president, who is overseeing all of our festival events this year. (Next is Oktoberfest on Oct. 5.) Thanks to the July 4 committee who worked for several months: Claire Andrews and Lynne Brehmer, co-chairs; Victoria Taylor Earls, Eric Hagerson, Arianna Koudounas and Mike Potvin. What a fantastic committee! We are an all-volunteer organization and not three years old, yet the connection between the Home and the community is becoming more firm with each passing day. The best is yet to come!

John Hughes
President, Friends of the Soldiers Home

Photos by Isabelle Hughes


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