You Betcha I'm a Proud Army Mom

Ramblings of an Army mom and probably some rants about the world at large. These are my ramblings and rants and no one else's. Just so you know...

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Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Ok, You're Making The Mom Real Mad Now...

Mudville Gazette received an email from Buzz Patterson:

Hello all,

This past Friday night I was privileged to visit Fran O'Brien's steakhouse in the Capitol Hilton, Washington, DC. Every Friday night, Hal Koster, the restaurant manager and Vietnam Vet, invites our wounded soldiers convalescing at nearby Walter Reed Army Center to a free steak dinner and drinks. It was supposedly a "slow" night for our heroes as many were on a ski trip in Colorado. But I walked into an absolutely packed room of wounded soldiers and their families enjoying a minor but well-deserved recognition for their service to our country.

I've also discovered since then that the Hilton Corporation will not be renewing the lease. Apparently, there are too many "liability issues" in accommodating American heroes in wheelchairs. In fact , the lease (and therefore the dinners) will expire in a few short weeks. If America had responded as we would in the past, this would be inconsequential really. Obviously we have not and it is a tragic commentary on today's PC-ness.

Please read the attached e-mail with more of the details.


Buzz Patterson

Just a part of the post about Hal Koster and co-owner Marty O'Brien, who run Fran O'Brians Stadium Steakhouse:

"A bear-like, big-hearted man who did three tours in Vietnam on a helicopter gunship, Koster, 59, wants no publicity for his efforts and shrugs off questions of how much it has cost him and co-owner Marty O'Brien, son of the famous Washington Redskin who opened the restaurant. But extrapolating from the menu, the bill for each Steak Night can be close to $3,000.

The two absorbed the full cost for the first several months, but now it is covered at least in part by donations drummed up by the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, the Help Our Heroes Foundation, the American Legion and other veterans service organizations. The Disabled American Veterans provides the bus.

Koster credits fellow Vietnam vet and longtime Fran's patron Jim Mayer with conceiving the dinners. A double-amputee himself, Mayer is a "peer counselor" at Walter Reed, where he cajoles, teases and comforts those newly limbless who think life is over. A natural comedian, Mayer's been known to skip down the hospital halls on his prosthetic legs to make his point that it isn't.

Both Mayer and Koster said their purpose is a simple one: to ensure that these kids are treated better than they were when they came home from Vietnam. Ask any of the dozens of vet alums who gathered recently at Fran's for a two-year anniversary celebration and they'll tell you, emphatically, that it has been a godsend.

"It's the greatest thing. It lets you be normal," said Cpl. Bobby Isaacs, 24, who lost one entire leg and the other one below the knee after an ambush in Mosul, Iraq. After 39 surgeries, he's now an outpatient in North Carolina, but said he wouldn't have missed the reunion at Fran's for the world. With him he brought his fiancée, a prosthetics technician he met during his rehabilitation.

Attending as well were several Iraqi-Americans who came to thank the troops for their sacrifices. So did Debra Burlingame, sister of the pilot of the jetliner crashed by hijackers into the Pentagon on Sept. 11. With her was John Vigiano, a retired New York City firefighter whose two sons, one a firefighter and the other a police officer, died at the World Trade Center."

Ok, this is wrong on so many levels - just the fact that the Hilton won't accomodate our wounded soldiers is enough for me. What the hell is wrong with this country??? It's like the worst of the worst is crawling out from under the rocks! (Couldn't have anything to do with the worthless excuses we have for officials on the Hill, could it...?)

Read Greyhawk's full post. You'll cry and you might want to hit something - I did. But, instead, pick up the phone or email the Hilton and let them know what you think of this.
If the Hilton does put bucks over heroes, I'm never going in one of their hotels again.

Here are the people to call:

*Dan Boyle (212) 838-1558

Brian Kellaher (202) 393-1000*

And maybe send this on...

Speaking of which, CJ over at A Soldier's Perspective tells of a young TN National Guardsman, Sgt. Kevin Downs, who is badly wounded and low in spirits. Let's get cards out to him and show him he is appreciated and we support him ~