Blue Star Families 5th Anniversary Celebration

Last night, Blue Star Families celebrated its 5th Anniversary with an event at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The event recognized Mark Johnson, 2015 Blue Star Neighbor of the Year, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden’s Joining Forces nationwide initiative, and The Creative Coalition.

Sheila Casey, Chairman BSF Board of Directors and Chief Operating Officer of The Hill, and Connie Milstein, Founding BSF Board Member and Principal and Co-founder of Ogden CAP Properties, LLC were the event co-chairs. Bob Woodruff, ABC News anchor and reporter and author of In an Instant, emceed the presentations.

“What started as a passionate discussion across Facebook and Skype between military family members has grown into a vibrant and meaningful mission for Blue Star Families and our members,” explains Kathy Roth-Douquet, CEO. “Our goal is to strengthen military families and our nation by connecting communities and fostering leadership. Thanks to our extraordinary partnerships, such as those with First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden’s Joining Forces Initiative and The Creative Coalition, we are mobilizing hundreds of thousands of military family members to engage with programs and resources that improve their lives, enhancing careers for those married to a service member, producing nationally-recognized research, and connecting America to the military.”

Blue Star Families serves 1.5 million military family members annually through its programs and resources with 50 chapters at home and overseas. Each of its programs, including Blue Star Museums, Operation Honor Corps, Caregivers Empowering Caregivers, Blue Star Careers, and Military Family Lifestyle Survey depends on the partnership of caring civilian organizations, institutions, and individuals.

Cafe Milano hosts Oscar Party to support Dog Tag Bakery

Prominent Georgetown institution, Cafe Milano, hosted an Oscar night watch party and champagne buffet, the proceeds of which benefited Dog Tag Bakery, an education and training program for wounded veterans transitioning into the civilian workforce. The crowd also cheered on Academy Award nominee Bradley Cooper, who became part of the Cafe Milano family when he attended Georgetown University.

Cafe Milano owner Franco Nuschese said, “Bradley Cooper is a dear friend and we are so proud of his success and his support of the military. Tonight, we honor the service of all members of the military and the good work Dog Tag Bakery is doing to help veterans transition to the workforce.” Nuschese also thinks American Sniper is Cooper’s best performance ever.

Dog Tag Bakery co-founders Constance Milstein and Father Richard Curry said, “We are so thrilled with the continued support of our fellow Georgetown business leaders. It only makes sense to cheer on former Georgetowner Bradley Cooper at Café Milano and to make tonight about helping our servicemen and women.”

Dog Tag Bakery realizes the passions of Milstein (Connie’s Baking Co.) and Curry (“Secrets of Jesuit Bread Making”) to serve a delicious variety of baked goods, with proceeds from sales supporting the entrepreneurship of vets and their families through experience and a high-quality business education.

Cafe Milano is celebrated for 22 years as the premier restaurant and meeting place in Georgetown. Owner Franco Nuschese is a patron of Dog Tag Bakery. He is member of the board of directors of the Global Virus Network and of the Atlantic Council of the United States. Nuschese is Minister-Counselor of the Order of Malta.

Steve Case on supporting freedom of press and celebrating philanthropy during WHCD weekend

“The weekend started about supporting freedom of the press…but it’s great that events like the Garden Brunch celebrate things that are happening in the philanthropic world.” Steve Case spoke about the importance of bringing people together during White House Correspondents Weekend to support great causes such as Dog Tag Bakery and Blue Star Families.

High School Author Brings Hope With Her Words

The works of Alexis Doyle, a senior at St. Andrew's Episcopal School

The works of Alexis Doyle, a senior at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Potomac, Maryland

Alexis Doyle hasn’t graduated from St. Andrew’s Episcopol School, yet she’s already able to confidentanly state she’s a published author. A three-time published author and her latest with a forward from the internationally acclaimed neurosurgeon, Dr. Benjamin Carson,Jr. who performed surgery on her when she was just 3 months old.

That’s no small feat for any author, especially one that’s still handling school work and grades. As The Sentinel reported Alexis wrote her first book at the age of 13.

Alexis’ books are inspired by her own struggles, having been born with craniosynostosis, a condition that fuses cranial bones together at birth, and with differences in her hands and feet. Spanning five major surgeries over the next 17 years, Alexis has certainly experienced the challenge of overcoming major adversity.

“I have found that one of the best ways I have been able to overcome my challenges is to help others overcome theirs,” she said. “That is why I decided at a very young age to author books for kids to help them deal with their own challenges and to let them know they are not alone. I have published my third book in the series that I hope to continue throughout my life.”

Author Alexis Doyle

photo: Alexis Doyle.

The books (“Jesse and His New Baby Sister,” “Ethan the Big Brother” and the most recent, “Alexis And Her Hospital Friends”) illustrate the challenges dealt with by, not only Alexis’ family, but also the families of 2 close friends. They show in a very simple format, easily understood by young children, how the families overcame their challenges and, further, they provide reassurance for other children who struggle with any condition or difficult life situation. In the forward to her newest book, her neurosurgeon, Dr. Benjamin Carson, Sr. provided:

“In this book, Alexis Doyle who has had many experiences as a patient during her early years of life, uses those experiences to help children see that the people working at the hospital are their friends and are there to make their lives better. She also helps children use their imagination. I hope this book finds its way into the children’s library of every hospital and into the offices of many pediatricians.”

Alexis Doyle’s books can be purchased at Lexy’s Books on Facebook.

Blue Star Families Awards Their "Angel" Constance Milstein

Blue Star Families Honor Constance Milstein

On Monday, Blue Star Families awarded their long-time board member Connie Milstein with their prestigious “Angel Award.”

As a Who’s Who of philanthropists, veterans and civil-minded Washington leaders gathered at The Army Navy Club Ballroom, Milstein was surrounded by longtime friends and colleagues like Heather Podesta, Greta Van Susteren and John P. Coale, Doug Wilson, Kathy Roth-Douquet, other members of the Blue Star Families and Michelle Obama’s Joining Forces team of Tina Tchen, Col. Rich Morales and Tanya Bradshear were there. The “Angel” program also featured a special video tribute, featuring Father Richard J. Curry thanking her for all the work and effort she put into his program at Dog Tag Bakery, scheduled to open next spring.

Photos of the event are below:

Washington Humanitarians Gather to Honor Caryl Stern and to Believe in Zero

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Last Tuesday was an unintentionally powerful day for those that stand with humanity and empowering the children who rarely get a voice. While most of the country watched a shocked Jon Stewart on the Daily Show as he spoke with Malala Yousafzai, earlier that night Washington gathered around the Jefferson hotel to hear from UNICEF President Caryl Stern about her latest book, “I Believe in Zero*.”

Featuring Melanne Verveer, the nation’s first global ambassador for women, and with former Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher, a leader in the global effort to prevent deaths in garment factories as Independent Board Chairman of the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, Stern focused on a key point behind the philosophy of UNICEF and her book: zero preventative child deaths.

“As a society, we can’t say that every child has value if we’re not willing to act accordingly ,” Stern wrote on Huffington Post back in September. “Over the last year, 176 governments, including the United States, have pledged to accelerate our progress on child survival. These countries have recognized that an investment in children is at the heart of every nation’s prosperity and sustainable development. Healthy children are more likely to live longer, stay in school and be productive members of their society, creating benefits that reverberate through future generations.”

Stern’s latest book is filled with stories from her travels around the world, especially as she looks at the struggles within third-world counries and how communities must pull themselves together along with their government to redefine and develop a global consciousness.

Senator John McCain Headlines Daily Beast Hero Summit

Tina Brown kicks things off at the second annual Daily Beast Hero Summit with an interivew with the always interesting Senator John McCain. As politicians line up to claim they are outraged by the government shutdown’s affect on veteran services. Syria and the controveries in Congress will all be covered starting at 8:30 a.m. when Senator John McCain joins Tina Brown in a special session.

Afterwards the morning program continues with a look back at the 20th anniversary of the events behind Black Hawk Down with the producer of the 2001 film Jerry Bruckheimer. The day continues featuring speakers from Capitol Hill, the military and the premiere later tonight of Peter Berg‘s “Lone Survivor.”

You can watch the day’s panels live here: