We’d like to introduce you to our Purple Heart Hero Support™ manager and assistant managers from the East Coast, serving the National Naval Medical Center (NNMC) - also known as “Bethesda.”
PHHS East Coast is led by manager Susan Kristol and assistant managers Mary Anne Schilling and Peggy Densford.
Manager Susan Kristol and her husband Bill are both originally from New York but have lived in Northern Virginia for 26 years. They have three adult children — a married daughter in New York City, a daughter in Washington, D.C., who also volunteers with Marine Parents, and a son on active duty in the USMC who just returned from a deployment in Afghanistan and is currently at Camp Pendleton. Susan enjoys volunteering for a variety of local charitable organizations. She is also a member of the Blue Star Mothers chapter of Northern Virginia.
In volunteering with Purple Heart Hero Support™ East at Bethesda Naval Hospital, Susan’s goal is to express her gratitude to the wounded warriors and their families and to make sure they know there is a network of people who care about them. Susan works with a pool of dedicated longtime volunteers and some brand new ones as well, helping coordinate and serve a buffet dinner at Bethesda Naval Hospital two Sundays a month. Thanks to the generosity of Marine Parent supporters and sponsors, PHHS East serves about 200 meals a month.
Assistant Manager Mary Ann Schilling and her husband Paul have been helping to serve PHHS meals for over five years. They have two daughters, both of whom currently work for the Red Cross. Their older daughter served two tours in Iraq as a Marine. Mary Ann was looking for a way to help the troops in an effort to help overcome how much she missed her own daughter who was deployed. While searching the internet she discovered MarineParents and Purple Heart Hero Support™ right in her own backyard! Mary Ann is the volunteer who lives closest to Bethesda; so she’s the one who is always running over to hang posters and signs encouraging folks to come to the dinners. And when there is a snowstorm on PHHS meal days, it’s Mary Ann who is always the first one there to make sure that the families still get served!
Assistant Manager Peggy Densford and her husband, Joe, are the parents of three children: a daughter and two sons. Both sons serve in the USMC. When Peggy’s and Joe’s older son made his first deployment to Iraq, they became volunteers with Purple Heart Hero Support™. They travel from their home in St. Mary’s County, Maryland to the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland once a month to serve suppers to wounded warriors and their families. Supporting families of other Marines, sailors and soldiers helped ease the helplessness they felt with their son in harm’s way.
The mom of a Marine who spent several months at Bethesda summed up the compassion and concern of our PHHS East Coast volunteers in a recent email:
We spent many daytime and nighttime hours there and really appreciated food being brought in and not having to go out and hunt it up for ourselves. All the volunteers were always so friendly and helpful and it does a lot for morale, parents and wounded warriors both. Thanks again for all you did for me and my family and all that you continue to do. Thanks to the sponsors who so generously give so that we may be so well taken care of in a time when we really need it.
MarineParents is fortunate to have an extremely dedicated and responsible group of PHHS volunteers serving meals at Bethesda. Their smiling faces and positive attitudes help our Wounded Warriors and their families during the recovery process at Bethesda. Thanks to Susan, Mary Anne, Peggy and all of the fabulous Purple Heart Hero Support™ East Coast volunteers for their continued devotion to helping to heal the troops.