Summer Painting at USO Family Center

Categories: Highlights, Rehab and Recovery Fund, Support Our Troops

Freedom Alliance is fortunate to partner with a brilliant artist and teacher, Elizabeth Brunsman, who donates her time and talent so we can host a series of fun events for families at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. We call it Pasta and Paint Night.

In the USO Warrior and Family Center at Walter Reed, we invite service members and their families to come for a delicious spread, which includes pasta, pizza, salad, and dessert. Then, Elizabeth sets up easels, canvases, palettes, and brushes so that each participant can paint and take home his or her own work of art.

This latest scene was a palm-shaded hammock on a blue coast—an appropriate choice since the center’s air conditioner wasn’t working! It was a humid evening in June and the temperature was in the high eighties. Nevertheless, the dreamy subject of the painting seemed to lighten the atmosphere, and sixteen would-be artists picked up their paintbrushes and sailed away to a tropical beach, where the breeze was soft and the water inviting.

Elizabeth brought her mother, Anita, to the USO Center this time around. They taught, encouraged, and served cheerfully throughout the evening, giving our guests a welcome respite from the burdens of the hospital.

A Navy officer in attendance was preparing for retirement. Joshua told us he and his wife, Jenna, would move from their small apartment at Walter Reed to Orlando when his time was up. Their new paintings ought to complement their new Floridian home perfectly!

We met for the first time Jacob, a quiet young Marine in rehabilitation for a traumatic brain injury sustained while training at Marine Corps Base Quantico. His mother Angelia left Kentucky to care for him, ever since he was sent to Walter Reed in February.

Rachael, a caregiver, is a regular Pasta and Paint Night attendee, and it was good to see her again. She usually comes with her daughter, but Allison was recovering from what they hope will be her last surgery.

Injured service members and their families have a tough road to travel. That’s why we love to see them having fun together, sharing with new friends, losing themselves in an activity, and letting go of their challenges for an evening.

Pasta and Paint Night is an ideal way to do that, and we can’t wait to see what art awaits us in August.

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