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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Armed Forces Retirement Home Fourth of July Celebration Schedule and List of Activites Released


Friends of the Soldiers Home is proud to announce details of the third annual:

July 4th Celebration
Friday, July 4, 2014
4 pm to 9:30 pm
 At the Lower Grounds of the Armed Forces Retirement Home, Washington D.C.

 (Enter at Randolph Street NW and Rock Creek Church Road)

Catch and Release Fishing with Trout Unlimited*Free Yoga From Lighthouse Yoga Center*Harambee with Baba Ras D*Hortonville, Wisconsin 100+ Member Marching Band Courtesy of Music Celebrations*DJ Billy White*Food w/ Captain Cookie, Lemon Grass Truck, Los Verracos, DC Ballers, Hardy’s BBQ, Friends of the Soldiers Home Hot Dog Stand*Kids’ Bike Parade*Kazoo the Balloon Maker*Face Painter Yanira Quinteros*Explore A DCFD Firetruck*Information and Kids’ Activity Tables from President Lincoln’s Cottage, Hero Dogs and Kirov Academy of Ballet 

See the fireworks from the National Mall


                                (Detailed schedule follows below)

Thank you to our sponsors GreenLine Real Estate and Safeway!

Glow sticks, cracker jacks, t-shirts and water and soda also available — sales of these items and the $5 parking charge benefit Friends of the Soldiers Home.
Carry in your own food and drink if you prefer; walk or bike in; take the H8 bus or Metro. The festival is a short walk from the Georgia-Petworth station. There will not be a shuttle bus between the main festival area and the ponds this year. No dogs allowed at festival. Remember to stay off the golf course.

Friends of the Soldiers Home is grateful for staff and veterans of the Armed Forces Retirement Home for making this opportunity available to the community. We are grateful for your service.

Activities & Event Schedule:

  • 4.30pm: Free yoga class for adults and kids hosted by Lighthouse Yoga Center
  • 4.30pm: Explore a firetruck with DCFD
  • 5pm: Harambee with Baba Ras D
  • 6:30pm: Kids bike parade – decorate your bike and join in our parade!
  • 7.30pm: Hortonville, Wis., High School Polar Bear Marching Band. A field performance featuring more than 100 entertainers! We are grateful to Music Celebrations for helping arrange this special event

Also featured will be music from the AFRH’s very own DJ Billy White!

All of the following activities will be ongoing and finish before the marching band at 7.30pm:

  • Catch and release fishing hosted by Trout Unlimited
  • Balloon animals and sculptures by Kazoo the Balloon Maker
  • Face Painter Yanira Quinteros — she’s back from Spring Fling!
  • President Lincoln’s Cottage Hosts a ‘Color-in Petworth Commute Map’ kids’ activity
  • Hero Dogs – Information table and ‘Meet the Hero Dogs’
  • Kirov Academy of Ballet – Information table and ‘Picture Yourself as a Ballet Dancer’ kids activity

Patriotic Songs Fill the Air at July’s Saloon Night With Friends


saloonnight71Just days before our big annual July 4 celebration, some Friends headed up to the Soldiers Home to get things started early. Alan Bjerga brought his guitar and performed a July 4-themed set of music. He brought song sheets so everyone could sing along. About a dozen other Friends served pizza, chips and drinks and took seats next to veteran residents to visit and sing along with the songs, as M.C. Russell did in the photo below. There was plenty of talk about the July 4 festival, and we friends were encouraging residents to come out and celebrate on the big day. Thanks to Alan for performing, and to other Friends for volunteering. The monthly Saloon Night at the Soldiers Home was another big success! Photo by Lori Lincoln.

Happy Hour on June 24th Pulls Together a Group that Couldn’t Stop Talking!


Liz Cocke, writer and photographer

It was a lovely evening for Happy Hour on Tuesday night – with a warm breeze on the rooftop terrace of the Scott Building and several groups of volunteers, including Team Rubicon – a veterans group targeted to disaster relief and community service of all types. Between old veterans as residents, and new veterans visiting, and neighborhood residents just interested in talking – there were conversations going all over the place.

Come and join us as we join the residents on the last Tuesday night every month to enjoy an evening of soda, beer and pizza – not to mention good jokes, bad puns, fun music and great conversation. And on summer evening with a warm breeze we can throw in a lovely evening out on the rooftop terrace.

Happy Hour 6-23-2014e1

Happy Hour 6-23-2014a1

Happy Hour 6-23-2014b1

Happy Hour 6-23-2014c1

Friends, Residents Have a Ball at Monthly Jingo Get Together


jingo612Everybody is a winner when Friends get together with residents for their monthly Jingo game. Our volunteer coordinator, Lori Lincoln, took the first-ever Friends “selfie” at yesterday’s game with Mr. Harold Schultz, just after Mr. Schultz was victorious in one of the games. Also pictured below is veteran Phyllis Bradford, who kept on winning and winning Jingo games. She is flanked on the left by Erin, a first-time friends volunteer, and on the right by Tamia Datcher, a long-time Friend. We thank our volunteers, but above all we are grateful to our veteran friends for all they have done for us!Jingo612a

Friends Arrange Donation of 100+ Boxes of Girl Scout Cookies at Soldiers Home


scoutphoto1One of our favorite things about Friends of the Soldiers Home is establishing connections that didn’t exist before. We were happy to assist Girl Scouts from Sacred Heart Church’s Daisy and Brownie troops in donating more than 100 boxes of cookies to the Armed Forces Retirement Home in D.C. on June 10. Julia Malloy, a Brownie, and Vivian Cronenberg, a Daisy, unloaded the cookies onto a cart in the Soldiers Home parking lot and then presented them to the Home’s volunteer coordinator, Carolyn Haug, as seen in the photos at right and below. The girls enjoyed a brief tour of the facility, met some residents and learned some of the ways their Gift of Caring cookies would be enjoyed in the months to come. We thank the girls’ mothers, Catie DeLong Malloy and Kelly Cronenberg, and all the others affiliated with the Girl Scouts troop, for making this wonderful donation happen.



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