The Fort Meade Better Opportunities for Single Service-Members recently brought 21 service members to Patriot Point for a weekend retreat.
U.S. Navy Petty Officer Second-Class Juan Cuen, who is president of the Fort Meade BOSS program, had visited Patriot Point earlier this spring on a retreat organized by USO of Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore. Cuen saw the impact that Patriot Point made and inquired about bringing a group of service members from Fort Meade.
“It’s awesome and great to see people engage and disconnect from the world and get to know other individuals,” Cuen said. “I feel extremely blessed to come across a sanctuary where I can unwind and connect with people and discuss struggles in life and how to overcome them.”
While Mother Nature did not cooperate during the weekend, as it rained often, the group participated in several indoor activities, including a yoga class and tarot card readings. They also enjoyed a barbecue and played board games before getting to hit the water and go kayaking on Sunday.
“Patriot Point offers everything a person needs to unplug and relax, from kayaking to hiking,” said U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer Michele Scates. “The two main buildings are awesome with full kitchen and one big table where your group of 20-plus can eat together and connect over a meal. I will come back the first chance I get!”
“It allowed me to unwind and disconnect from the busy world,” said U.S. Navy Petty Officer Third-Class James Sumrall. “Military life can be very stressful and exhausting, so to have a few days away from it all was absolutely perfect. The staff also had a lot of great life advice to give which has helped me even after returning home.”
The pull to give back and support service members led Dennis Cappo to Patriot Point, where his business, Cappo & Associates Landscaping has helped turn the area between the Welcome Center and the Main House into a picturesque setting befitting a hardscape catalog.
“I come from a family where everyone has served and I feel there is an obligation to give back when we can,” Dennis Cappo said. “We may not all be able to afford the big financial donation, but we all can put in hard work, sweat equity and bust our butts to give back. We have got to take care of the guys and gals that have taken care of us and whom have sacrificed so much for America – remember that freedom isn’t free — it’s been paid for by the American warrior! Long live the brotherhood!”
At Patriot Point, Cappo & Associates has played a key role improving the entrance to the Main House, installing pavers in the driveway and creating sidewalks of pavers and personalized bricks donated through the Brick By Brick campaign. Cappo & Associates also installed an exterior stone veneer as part of the recent Main House renovations.
Dennis Cappo also reached out to his suppliers and has secured a donation of materials for a sprinkler system, and his company will donate the installation.
The Goetz family recently visited Patriot Point for a weekend retreat sponsored by Hope for the Warriors.
Lawrence Goetz is a gunnery sergeant currently stationed at Marine Corps headquarters in Quantico, where he is an administrative chief. He has served in the Marine Corps for 17 years. Lawrence, his wife Stephanie and their two children enjoyed a relaxing weekend at Patriot Point, where they were able to fish, hike throughout the property and enjoy indoor and outdoor activities.
“My family and I are truly grateful for being able to spend time at Patriot Point,” Goetz said. “Being there is a break from all the hustle and bustle of our daily lives. It was great having a weekend where the whole family stayed off their tablets and phones. It was great being able to rekindle family time that can be easily neglected.
“The impact that Patriot Point has on our service members is truly magical. It is a great place to relax your mind, body, and soul. You are able to spend quality time with your loved ones. Spending time at Patriot Point allows you to reset. Allowing service members to come back to work healthier and more committed to their duties.”
Two U.S. military veterans are planning a race through the Chesapeake Bay this summer as part of an effort to promote mental health for veterans. Chad SeBour, a former U.S. Army paratrooper and the race organizer, and Eduardo Diaz Rico, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran from Pennsylvania, are training this week at the Slaughter Creek Marina. They plan to use the race to raise money for Patriot Point.
The John Smith Expedition Race begins June 2 with a kickoff event at the Slaughter Creek Marina and Palm Beach Willies. The race then will take the duo and their boat on a 1,000-nautical mile clockwise tour of the Bay, starting and ending in Dorchester County.
“A little more work needs to be done on the boat, but we’re going to take it out for a couple days,” SeBour said, adding that he hopes to livestream much of the journey around the Chesapeake on Facebook. “Get a feel for the boat, get a feel for each other and basic living conditions in such a confined spot.”
Last summer, Pella Mid-Atlantic teamed up with the Home Builders Care Foundation (which is the charitable arm of the Maryland Building Industry Association) to install $100,000 worth of new doors and windows atPatriot Point. The project replaced all of the exterior windows and doors on the 1925 Main House with more than 30 Pella Lifestyle Series Windows and five Pella Brand Entry Doors.
“We’re always looking for progressive ways to give back to the communities in which we do business,” said David Lebowitz, General Manager, Eastern Shore, Pella Mid-Atlantic. “This was an honor and privilege to work with Patriot Point. It was really a pleasure.”
The Home Builders Care Foundation contributed financially to the project and worked with Pella Mid-Atlantic and the Military Bowl Foundation to lead and coordinate the construction efforts.
“We can’t say enough to thank Pella Mid-Atlantic and the Home Builders Care Foundation for their support and generosity,” Military Bowl Foundation President & Executive Director Steve Beck said. “This Tom Sawyer Award is well deserved.”
U.S. Army veteran Will D. recently visited Patriot Point with his wife and two children for a relaxing weekend.
Will, who served from 2005 to 2009 and was an interrogator stationed overseas, now lives in the Washington, D.C., area. He and his family drove to Patriot Point , arriving on Friday and staying until Sunday. They enjoyed a beautiful weekend on the beach, capped by a nighttime bonfire. Will also had the chance to work out in the Under Armour Freedom Fitness Center and tried out Patriot Point’s new shooting range.
“We had a nice, relaxing time,” Will said. “It was very therapeutic. Hugh, Lauren, Mike and Katie rolled out all the stops and we felt so taken care of by everyone. We hope to visit again!”
With the weather warming up, spring landscaping work is in full effect at Patriot Point. Thanks again to Ruppert Landscaping, which continues its generous support of Patriot Point.
This past fall, following the completion of the Main House Phase II renovation, Ruppert donated 22 trees, 50 potted plants and 9,000 square feet of sod which was installed by Patriot Point volunteers. That came after Ruppert donated and installed 15 trees, 50 shrubs, 350 perennials and 10,000 square feet of sod to Patriot Point in 2018.
This spring, Ruppert plans to send a crew to install 1,200 beach grasses it is donating to shore up the dunes along Patriot Point’s waterfront.
“We think Patriot Point is a great organization for our nation’s active-duty and veteran service members,” Ruppert Landscape Operations Manager Casey Cook said. “At Ruppert, we get to pick who we donate to and this is definitely a cause that we like to revisit every year if there is a need, for sure.”
“I love the location. It’s so peaceful.”
Cook still remembers his initial visit to Patriot Point to scope out the property’s landscaping needs. As Cook eyed his surroundings while pulling down the driveway a bald eagle swooped in front of his vehicle.
“We are so appreciative of Ruppert’s incredible ongoing support of Patriot Point,” Military Bowl Foundation President & Executive Director Steve Beck said. “It is thanks to contributions like Ruppert’s that we are able to make Patriot Point such an inviting destination for guests, especially the men and women who serve our country so valiantly.”
It was a busy weekend at Patriot Point, as a group of volunteers from Harkins Builders, Inc. spent a full day taking down several dead trees near the property entrance, finishing up work started the day before by three retired fire fighters. The group from Harkins included three marine veterans, two Navy veterans and one Army veteran.
“What a great day to spend putting in some hard work with a bunch of veterans and first responders,” Harkins vice president Ben Nichols said. “I am still smiling about it. We look forward to contributing again very soon. Please always feel free to reach out if a project pops up without warning.”
“What an amazing effort by both groups,” Patriot Point General Manager Hugh Middleton said. “Those trees have needed to come down for some time and thanks to these volunteers for making it happen. We can’t thank our volunteers enough. The property looks the way it does because of groups like the one from Harkins.”
Guests traveling down Route 16 will see something new as they approach Patriot Point. Thanks to Designs & Signs LLC of Edgewater, Md., there is new signage welcoming everyone to Patriot Point.
Design & Signs’ father-and-son team of Brendon and Travis Brandon recently traveled to Patriot Point and installed the composite lettering on the stonework adjacent to the entrance gate. Brendon Brandon is a longtime friend of Patriot Point volunteer coordinator Mike Mattingly.
Upon completion of the installation, Designs & Signs generously donated the balance of the cost to Patriot Point.
“That was the first time I had been there,” Travis Brandon said. “It’s a pretty cool place and it’s definitely making a difference in people’s lives. We were glad to help with the project.”
“What an incredibly kind gesture,” Military Bowl Foundation President & Executive Director Steve Beck said. “It is because of businesses like Designs & Signs, which share our commitment to giving back to those who serve our country so valiantly, that Patriot Point is able to make such a strong impact on our nation’s service members.”
A group of nine volunteers got a huge jump on spring cleanup over a recent weekend at Patriot Point. The group included veterans, retired fire fighters, members of Bravo Zulu Outdoors and others, who took on massive outdoor cleanup missions throughout the property.
Part of the cleanup efforts focused on the area behind the Guest House, which will soon become Patriot Point’s new shooting range.
Following a weekend of hard work, the group enjoyed a feast of shrimp and fresh local oysters.
“Patriot Point is fortunate to have many dedicated volunteers who share our mission of providing a first-class retreat for our nation’s recovering service members, their caregivers and families,” Military Bowl Foundation President & Executive Director Steve Beck said. “Thank you to everyone who pitched in this past weekend and continues to make Patriot Place such a special place.”