America Supports You: Calendar Benefits Fisher House
By Steven Donald Smith
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, March 29, 2005 When Julius Caesar introduced the forbear of our modern calendar more than 2,000 years ago, he couldn't have foreseen the U.S. Angels 2005 calendar.
A soldier in Iraq displays a copy of the U.S. Angels 2005 calendar. The womens biker club donated calendars to deployed troops and supports Fisher House. Photo courtesy of U.S. Angels
(Click photo for screen-resolution image)
The U.S. Angels is a women's biker club from the Washington area whose members have donated their time and images for a calendar to help injured soldiers and their families.
The Angels have sent boxes of free calendars to troops serving overseas and have used them as a fund-raiser here at home. The calendar started out as a simple morale booster, but it has enabled the Angels to expand into other charitable activities.
Angels founder Dawn Glencer, a former Marine and former Defense Department employee, was the driving force behind the calendar. She said all proceeds go directly to the Fisher House at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
Fisher Houses are "comfort homes" for the families of servicemembers receiving medical care. This includes a large contingent of wounded soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. The houses allow families to be close to their recuperating loved ones.
Thirty-two Fisher Houses are scattered throughout the country on various military installations and Veterans Affairs medical centers. Each house holds 16 to 22 family members. The program was initiated in 1990 and has since temporarily housed more than 60,000 families.
Glencer is now working full time at the Military Severely Injured Joint Support Operations Center, which provides recovery support to severely injured servicemembers.
While her new job is challenging and requires many hours of hard work, the rewards gained from both her job and charitable endeavors make it all worthwhile, Glencer said.
Soldiers in Iraq have sent her photos proudly displaying the U.S. Angels 2005 calendar. One night, after a long day at work, she was thrilled to receive a voicemail message from soldiers serving in Iraq, thanking her for the calendars. Getting that call, she said, was "amazing."
Not only do the U.S. Angels appear in the calendar, they have appeared at Fisher House itself. They have visited servicemembers several times over the past year.
Glencer said the women have "thrown several morale parties," including for Christmas and Valentine's Day. Along with numerous toys collected by the Angels for the Fisher House Christmas party, Hecht's department store donated more than 80 gifts for the recovering servicemembers. The Valentine's Day party included a comedy improvisation group that performed for the Fisher House children.
The Angels also recently held a benefit at a local Maryland nightclub to raise funds to purchase Sharper Image massage chairs for each of the 32 Fisher Houses. Glencer said the chairs are "a little stress relief for the soldiers and their families."
The U.S. Angels have raised more than $12,000 to date. Glencer said the money is important, but time spent with the troops is even more valued.
"So many folks give money," but what the troops really need is "time to be spent with them," Glencer said.