Friends, Veterans Do Military Trivia Together — Everybody Wins

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Jingo-2After a brief detour to bingo last month, it was back to Jingo, a game like bingo that includes a trivia question. On Jan. 8, the theme was the Civil War. The DC Soldiers Home veterans showed they knew their history! Six volunteers helped veterans play the game and enjoy the evening. Mr. Donald Stout, a Coast Guard veteran, was the evening’s big winner. He had a large smile on his face as he was wheeled back to his room. Mr. Stout said he planned to spend his winnings at the store on popcorn and candy. This was the 35th time Friends of the Soldiers Home volunteers joined our veteran friends for a Jingo or bingo game. The next match is all set for Feb. 12. It’s just one more way to say thank you to our veterans who have served their country so well. If you would like to help at Jingo, drop a line to volunteerfriendsofsoldiers(at)gmail.com.

Photos and story by John Hughes.

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New Year, Same Good Time at Saloon Night With Friends

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saloon6he first Saloon Night of 2015 was a hit. Beautiful singing and wonderful volunteers who came in to the Defender’s Inn on the DC Soldiers Home campus made everyone forget about how cold it was outside on Jan. 6. This marked the 20th Saloon Night, which has become one of the most popular programs Friends of the Soldiers Home offers — for both residents and volunteers. Mark your calendars: Feb. 3 is the next Saloon Night, and a great time is sure to be had by all at a “super” time of year. Write at volunteerfriendsofsoldiers(at)gmail.com if you want to help!

Photos by Lori Lincoln.

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Friends of the Soldiers Home Sets Record With 47 Events in 2014

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bingo1Friends of the Soldiers Home set a new record in 2014 by holding and participating in 47 events, up from the previous high of 41 in 2013! More than 200 people volunteered for the Friends in 2014, which is also a record high for the organization that was founded in November 2011. More than 25% of the volunteers helped out three times or more — this core group really made a difference for veterans and the community in 2014. Thank you everybody!

The grand finale for 2014 was Big Bucks Bingo on Dec. 30, featuring 11 Friends volunteers and many more Soldiers Home DC residents. Bingo is different in that it is a bit more serious than the game Friends usually volunteers for — Jingo. Volunteers helped several quick, savvy and able-bodied residents play multiple cards for bigger prizes. Lots of residents were repeat winners. Prizes were also given out for being left-handed, for sitting next to a winner, and for knowing the outcome of a football game! There were cookies, egg nog and wine. The usual camaraderie and good time was enjoyed by everyone!

Friends doesn’t plan on slowing down any time soon and is grateful to give back to veterans in this way. The organization is off and running with 2015. The first event of the year is Saloon Night, Tuesday, Jan. 6, and Jingo on Thursday, Jan. 8. If you want to help out drop a line to Lori Lincoln at volunteerfriendsofsoldiers(at)gmail.com.

Story by Lori Lincoln, photos by Drew Schneider.

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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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