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New Program Began May 2014: Warrior Support Team
After 7 years of support to Purple Heart Heroes and Families, we've moved forward with a new program, Warrior Support Team, to focus on the needs of all returning warriors including wounded, ill, injured, and those living with PTS/COS (Post Traumatic Stress/Combat Operational Stress), as well as the needs of their family members and caregivers. To learn more and see our current work, visit

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Meet the East Coast Managers of Purple Heart Hero Support™

We’d like to introduce you to our Purple Heart Hero Support™ manager and assistant managers from the East Coast, serving the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) in Bethesda, Maryland.

PHHS East Coast is led by manager Susan Kristol and assistant managers Mary Anne Schilling and Peggy Densford.

Manager Susan Kristol got involved with Marine Parents through their message boards and website as soon as her son started on the path toward becoming a Marine. She found this an invaluable way to connect with other parents going through a similar experience. Susan began volunteering at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, in 2010.

Susan and her husband Bill have three married children: two daughters who are enthusiastic Marine supporters, and their Marine son, a former infantry officer who is now in the reserves after a deployment in Afghanistan and a deployment on the 15th MEU in the Persian Gulf region. They also have three grandchildren who are proud to support by sporting items from the EGA Shop’s baby clothing department.

Along with her team of dedicated volunteers, Susan aims to provide a welcoming presence at the hospital and to make sure that military families know there is a network of people who care about them. Thanks to the generosity of supporters and sponsors, WIIWST East serves about 160 meals a month. Volunteers also distribute books, adapted clothing, and other resources to increase the comfort of the patients and families, and are on call to help the Marine Corps Liaison Office, often teaming with other benevolent organizations, with special events on base such as the annual Super Bowl party, occasional lunches at Fisher House, and welcome and farewell picnics. WIIWST volunteers, through the generosity of supporters, also provide new baby gifts, Thanksgiving dinner supplies, Mother’s and Father’s day coffee mugs and refreshments, and gifts for the Christmas bazaar at Tranquility Hall.

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.


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