Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Serve Our Willing Warriors Takes Some Christmas Spirit To Walter Reed At Bethesda

It truly begins to feel like Christmas when SOWW visits our Willing Warriors + Families at Walter Reed at Bethesda for our Annual Willing Warrior Gift-Giving.

This year, the Warriors + Their Families lined up for hours all the way down the lengthy hall to collect their gift cards and plush sherpa blankets from SOWW and our partners Park Valley Church + Intelligent Decisions. We were joined this year by iPods For Wounded Veterans, one of our favorite nonprofits!

Santa also made an appearance and waited at the end of the line to hand out goodies like candy canes and hand-knit scarves.
(And pose for pictures.)

We feel so fortunate that Walter Reed continues to open its doors to us, year after year, for these special visits. We could not do this without the support and partnership of our community of SOWWers who are so faithful to donate for this annual event. We wish all of you could be there with us each time to see the appreciation on the faces of these Warriors, their spouses, parents, siblings and children when we take our little bit of Christmas cheer into their midst. 

We hope we these photos give you a taste of how the day felt.

Awww . . . 
One of the service dogs was looking shy, but festive, in her colorful Christmas sweater.

We came away from the weekend with 12 pages of signatures of Warrior Families who are hoping to stay at The Bull Run Warrior Retreat in the near future. It further inspired us to "press on towards the goal" and work hard to complete all the retreat house renovations as soon as possible. These families desperately need what we can soon provide -- short respite stays in a "home away from home" environment.

 SOWW VP John Dominick (below) shares both gratitude and thanks with one of our 
Willing Warriors.

By the end of the day, we had exhausted our supply of gifts, shook many hands, and said many thank yous. 
But, as always, we received far more than we gave.

To all you SOWWers out there who made this possible once again:
 Many, many thanks and many blessings to you! 

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Heartwarming Holiday Gifts: SOWW Calendars + Mugs Available!

Still holiday shopping?  
SOWW to the rescue!

Serve Our Willing Warriors is offering our first Bull Run Warrior Retreat Calendar 
featuring beautiful seasonal scenes of the retreat property 
(and some smiling faces of volunteers + participants at SOWW events).

Our large 12" x 12" calendar makes a lovely, affordable + practical gift 
and reminds us of the ways in which a community can 
'give back' to our military families.

Below are a few calendar excerpts.

If your loved one already has a calendar, then you may want to consider our 
Bull Run Warrior Retreat Christmas Mug.  
It features a lovely snowy scene of the retreat home with the 
Serve Our Willing Warriors maxim:
Because The Will To Serve is a Precious Thing.


The mugs come securely packaged in a lovely white + blue box.  
Just add a bow and your gift is ready to give!

So give a gift that 'gives back' to our Wounded, Ill + Injured Warriors & Families!

(Or buy them for yourself!  Or buy for yourself + your gift list!)

The 12" x 12" Bull Run Warrior Retreat 2015 Calendar 
Price:  $20

The Bull Run Warrior Retreat Christmas Mug  
Price:  $20 
Special:  2 Mugs for $30

Email us to purchase + arrange for pick-up for a calendar or  Christmas mug.

 (Please include "calendar purchase" or "mug purchase" in the subject line of your email.)

Thank you!
Happy Holiday Shopping!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

So much to be Thankful for!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family during this festive time. 

There is always something to be thankful for and at the Bull Run Warrior Retreat we are reminded of this everyday.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Happy Veterans Day!

Today, Serve Our Willing Warriors honors all those who served at the special Open House for the Bull Run Warrior Retreat

For additional information, click here
We are hoping you will decide to join us!

Thank you to all who serve! 

Monday, November 3, 2014

A Visit with the Warriors

Eight years ago Serve Our Willing Warriors began as a small group that simply wanted to give back to Wounded, Ill and Injured Warriors + Their Families.

Experience the annual event that marked the humble beginnings of our great non-profit by joining us on 
December 5th 
at Water Reed National Medical Center 
December 6th 
at Ft. Belvoir Hospital 
for our Annual Holiday Gift-giving Event 
and share the holidays with our 
Willing Warriors + Their Families. 

Register for the event here.
If you are unable to attend, you may donate gift cards 
or make a cash donation for the gift bags for our Warriors at

Monday, October 27, 2014

You're Invited!: SOWW Special Open House Nov. 11th

It has been truly a blessing to see the ongoing transformation at Bull Run Warrior Retreat. 
Though this event is not a ribbon cutting ceremony, it is indeed a big reveal! 
Please make time to come out and see the amazing progress made on the retreat house before it is completed for our ribbon cutting ceremony in 2015. 
Serve Our Willing Warriors will be raffling off goodies and many local dignitaries will be in attendance to support our cause.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Will to Ride - SOWW Inaugural Bike Ride

We were rockin' and a rollin' on wheels October 11th for the Serve Our Willing Warriors Inaugural Bike Ride. 
As rain poured down our faces and sweat dripped from the tips of our noses, 52 participants pushed through what seemed to be the storm of the century on this gloomy Saturday morning.

It was a mountainous uphill battle . . . Literally! 
And everyone together, citizens and warriors alike, pushed their limits cycling along the windy roads of the Bull Run Mountains.

Some of the riders stopping for a pose at a pit stop.
 The 11-Miler team looked strong as they stopped for bananas and refreshments at their halfway point!

One of the wounded warriors from Ride to Recovery representing well!
 Some SOWW riders that chose to rough it through the downpour.

Meanwhile the 53 miler team had no time for breaks. 
They probably didn't even know the definition of  the word "break".

Wounded warrior team holding strong! 
No matter the trifling tribulations we SOWWers faced that morning, it was comforting to know that there was a rescue team in place in case anything were to happen! 
Our dedicated Rescue Squad rescued bikers near and far on Saturday. 
If it was not for them, many of us would not have been able to continue.

The trusty rescue squad on the ready for the day's events
We were also grateful to have our covert "Snack Team" prepared with all types of nutritious foods to fuel us throughout the race! 

Our dedicated snack team united and standing by!

This adorable family (above) that was enjoying the opportunity to get together and celebrate life; even by riding in the rain. 
(I should also note that this family rode together and personally beat my own personal record . . .  Even though the father was biking with two of his baby girls on board!)

Two very spirited cyclers taking a break.
With that said, it wasn't until a conversation that I had with this amazing wounded warrior that I jokingly asked " So, you won the race today right?" as I was asking everyone who had crossed the finish line. He simply turned to me and said, "Oh, no ma'am. Today we all won."

It is moments like these that truly get the heart melting just a bit quicker. And just as the grinch experienced Christmas morning; I think my heart grew 2 sizes that day. And for all of us at Serve Our Willing Warriors, our hearts continue to grow and grow with each event and each conversation that we carry with these wonderful service members and their families.

SOWW Treasurer and daughter taking momentary cover from the weather.
Special thank you to Stacey Plaugher for putting this event together! 
We could not have done it without her. 
We look forward to many more bike rides to come!

Stacey preparing to speak to the group of bikers in attendance at the event.
Enjoy looking at some photos below of what the trail looked like the day of the race! 
It was truly a beautiful scenic route.

Thank you for reading!

Have you seen our last blog post about the SOWW Golf Tournament? To read more click here