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Steakhouse Marks Two Years of Friday Nights With Troops
American Forces Press Service ^ | Oct 31, 2005 | Samantha L. Quigley

Posted on 10/31/2005 3:39:40 PM PST by SandRat

WASHINGTON, Oct. 31, 2005 – Fran O'Brien's Stadium Steakhouse in the Capitol Hilton here was the place to be Oct. 28, as the restaurant owners expressed appreciation for the troops and had the favor returned.

"Tonight this is about reunion and thanks," Gordon England, acting deputy secretary of defense, told the group of about 230 people. "But it's primarily about thanks."

Gordon presented steakhouse owners Hal Koster and Marty O'Brien with framed letters expressing his gratitude and that of President Bush, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Gen. Peter Pace.

The "Friday Night Dinners Reunion Celebration" marked two years of Fran O'Brien's providing free steak dinners every Friday night to wounded troops from Walter Reed Army Medical Center here and the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. Patients from the two medical facilities, some of whom have left the medical centers, and family members were on hand to celebrate the milestone.

"It's just an honor to be around (the troops)," Koster said, adding that the dinners won't stop as long as there are still troops in need of the morale boost the evenings away from the hospitals provide. "The doctors have said (getting away from the hospital) speeds healing. We see that a little bit ourselves."

The troops agree with their doctors. Several said that their first dinner at the restaurant reintroduced them to a sense of normalcy.

"It's the biggest motivator," said Army Sgt. Mike Sanchez, sporting a hat that summed up his story in two words, "Blown Up!"

"It just makes you feel whole again," Sanchez said.

Army Staff Sgt. Josh Olson, back on active duty with the Army Marksmanship Unit after recovering at Walter Reed, said the dinners allow patients to get away from the monotony of the hospital and connect with people in similar situations. Olson started attending the dinners in November 2003, just after the tradition began.

"It's gives us some time away from the hospital where the soldiers can come and talk about their problems and tricks of the trade, if you will, especially for amputees," Olson said, adding that this dinner was special because he hadn't seen some of the attendees in two years. "We kind of grew up together," he said.

Organizations that support troops, New York firefighters, and Iraqi-Americans were among those who made their appreciation for the troops known throughout the evening. Veterans Affairs Secretary James R. Nicholson expressed thanks on behalf of his department.

"I am here representing the 235,000 people that work at the VA with one mission in mind, which is to take care of our veterans," Nicholson said. "We're there to serve you and take care of whatever you need for the rest of your life. (This dinner) is for us to all come together and show the love and the respect and the bond that we have for our fellow veterans."

Some attending to honor the troops found themselves in the spotlight.

"There has been one person who has done an enormous amount for the soldiers. (He) has been a regular visitor on Friday nights and has gone to an enormous effort to make sure that the severely injured soldiers get treated properly and handled in an expeditious manner," Koster said in announcing an award for Paul Wolfowitz, the former deputy defense secretary who now heads the World Bank.

Wolfowitz said that while the meal was appreciated, his attendance nearly every Friday night is because of his respect for the injured servicemembers.

"It's a wonderful bunch of people. It's inspirational to get to know you guys, ... the way you overcome challenges," Wolfowitz said. "(Friday nights are) a chance to say, 'thank you' for remarkable service to our country. It doesn't just make the United States better and safer; it makes the whole world better and safer."


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; US: District of Columbia
KEYWORDS: dc; franobriens; friday; marks; nights; steakhouse; supportourtroops; troops; walterreed; wia; years
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1 posted on 10/31/2005 3:39:42 PM PST by SandRat
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To: 2LT Radix jr; 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub; 80 Square Miles; A Ruckus of Dogs; acad1228; AirForceMom; ..

Real American Businesses support the troops.


2 posted on 10/31/2005 3:40:12 PM PST by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country. What else needs to be said?)
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To: SandRat
The place that's contributions. The great men of Rolling Thunder just gave them a check for $10,000.00 last Friday.
3 posted on 10/31/2005 3:41:42 PM PST by bmwcyle (We broke Pink's Code and found a terrorist message)
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To: SandRat

Correction --- takes...


4 posted on 10/31/2005 3:42:43 PM PST by bmwcyle (We broke Pink's Code and found a terrorist message)
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To: SandRat

I thought I might have read something about this before....well, at least about the steakhouse.

But whether I did or not...any business which honors our troops in this or any other manner deserves to have its story told (and retold if necessary). And all the accolades that go with it.


5 posted on 10/31/2005 3:46:50 PM PST by fatnotlazy
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To: SandRat

What a wonderful article, and what a wonderful group of people at Fran O'Brien's. Thanks for posting this.


6 posted on 10/31/2005 3:50:35 PM PST by hsalaw
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To: bmwcyle

Define please your reply.


7 posted on 10/31/2005 4:04:29 PM PST by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country. What else needs to be said?)
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To: SandRat
Definitely a place I will go to next time in DC.
8 posted on 10/31/2005 4:24:45 PM PST by Recon Dad ( Now to be known as Force Recon Dad (and proud of it))
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To: ALlRightAllTheTime; AlwaysFree; Angelwood; Apple Blossom; beandog; BillF; bmwcyle; BufordP; ...

Ping! Walter Reed Friday FReepers...


9 posted on 10/31/2005 4:25:11 PM PST by Albion Wilde (America will not run, and we will not forget our responsibilities. George W. Bush)
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To: hsalaw

Good post, Thanks.


10 posted on 10/31/2005 4:31:58 PM PST by pointsal
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To: Coop

Cool!


11 posted on 10/31/2005 4:35:52 PM PST by patton ("Hard Drive Cemetary" - forthcoming best seller)
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To: bmwcyle

"The great men of Rolling Thunder just gave them a check for $10,000.00 last Friday."

WOW! What a generous way to support the good work done by Fran O'Briens! Three cheers to Rolling Thunder.


12 posted on 10/31/2005 4:39:07 PM PST by hsalaw
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To: hsalaw

A few weeks ago, I called FOB and thanked them for being so kind to our soldiers. I recommend it to people who ask about dining options.

What a great story.


13 posted on 10/31/2005 4:47:11 PM PST by Landry Fan (Proud Supporter of the President and the US Military.)
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To: Landry Fan

Too bad we can not be in 2 places at the same time on Fridays!


14 posted on 10/31/2005 5:01:58 PM PST by 3D-JOY
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To: fatnotlazy


I thought I might have read something about this before....well, at least about the steakhouse.

#####

Chris Wallace on the Fox News Sunday show did an excellent profile of the Fran's Friday nights in his "Power People" segment about a month ago.


15 posted on 10/31/2005 5:09:56 PM PST by maica (We are fighting the War for the Free World --Frank Gaffney)
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To: maica
Chris Wallace on the Fox News Sunday show did an excellent profile of the Fran's Friday nights in his "Power People" segment about a month ago.

I would like to think that other MSM outlets would mention something like this. I find it disgusting beyond belief that the Michael Moores and Cindy $hitheads in our country get so much press over their negative, anti-American dribble, and how much the MSM (including Fox) propagates it, and something as noteworthy as what this place is doing only receives an 'honorable mention'.
16 posted on 10/31/2005 6:05:57 PM PST by proud_yank (Socialism is economic oppression)
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To: Albion Wilde

Thanks for the ping!

I had no idea Wolfowitz went every Friday. Way cool.


17 posted on 10/31/2005 7:34:46 PM PST by PleaDeal (Bill Whittle for Pres. in '08)
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To: proud_yank

Honoring our veterans does not fit the "storyline" of the wholly-owned subsidiary of the DNC - the so-called MSM.


18 posted on 10/31/2005 8:04:01 PM PST by maica (We are fighting the War for the Free World --Frank Gaffney)
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To: SandRat
The "Friday Night Dinners Reunion Celebration" marked two years of Fran O'Brien's providing free steak dinners every Friday night to wounded troops from Walter Reed Army Medical Center here and the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. Patients from the two medical facilities, some of whom have left the medical centers, and family members were on hand to celebrate the milestone.

BRAVO!!

19 posted on 10/31/2005 8:07:24 PM PST by Kryptonite (McCain, Graham, Warner, Snowe, Collins, DeWine, Chafee - put them in your sights)
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To: Albion Wilde

Thanks for the ping!


20 posted on 10/31/2005 8:23:06 PM PST by upchuck (John Robinson abhors my avatar: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1510594/posts?page=30#30 :)
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