Sixty-five recovering service members, their families and their caregivers were guests as the Military Bowl Foundation and board member Paul Norman teamed up to host the 15th annual Home of the Free … Because of the Brave dinner at Fogo de Cháo restaurant on Thursday night.
On the opening night of the NFL season, Home of the Free … Because of the Brave brought together recovering service members from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and Fort Belvoir Community Hospital to enjoy a memorable night at one of the region’s top restaurants.
“It always amazes me how appreciative our honored guests are to be at this event,” Norman said. “The dynamic of the public sharing an evening to express their respect and support with our recovering service members and their families continues to create a special evening and bond between our hosts and guests.”
“It’s a really good opportunity to be surrounded by veterans and out of a hospital environment,” said Sharon, an operations sergeant major who has served 31 years in the U.S. Army and is recovering at Fort Belvoir from a shoulder injury sustained in Afghanistan. “It’s a great event to get out, to fellowship with comrades and see corporate and remind us that there are so many supporters out there.”
“It’s been fantastic,” said Stephen, a U.S. Army medical entomologist with 17 years of service who suffered a stroke while stationed in Azerbaijan and is recovering at Walter Reed. “After being overseas, and coming back here, watching the NFL, with great food and corporations who are supportive of the American military. It’s just fantastic.”
Military Bowl Foundation President & Executive Director Steve Beck noted the impact the dinner makes on all guests. In addition to the service members enjoying a wonderful night out, the dinner also resonates with its other attendees, whose ticket purchase pays for their meal and that of a service member.
“We are especially thankful to all of the Home of the Free … Because of the Brave supporters,” Beck said. “They continue to show their gratitude to our nation’s military with their generosity. This was another incredible night.”
Additional proceeds from the dinner benefit Patriot Point, the Military Bowl’s 290-acre retreat on Maryland’s Eastern Shore for wounded, ill and injured service members.
Several distinguished guests were in attendance, including Medal of Honor Recipients Barney Barnum and Ron Shurer and U.S. Army (ret.) Sgt. Neil Duncan.
Barnum lit a fire under the crowd as he thanked the service members for their commitment and thanked the other guests for their support of the Armed Forces.
In addition to a terrific meal, several service members won gift cards and all were invited to be guests at the 2019 Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman on Friday, Dec. 27 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis. Photos from the dinner can be viewed on the Military Bowl’s Facebook page.