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Posts Tagged ‘army’

Last Wednesday was absolutely beautiful here in DC.  I found Nicole relaxing in her military uniform on a park bench.

Nicole is an active duty officer in the United States Army.  A product of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (R.O.T.C.) program, Nicole is an Army nurse stationed at a nearby medical center.  The soon to be First Lieutenant said that she chose a career in the military to “travel and see the world.”  I chuckled a little bit when she said that because I swear I recall a commercial for the army that said exactly that.

Photo: Reed

Nicole was waiting to meet up with someone that she found on Craigslist who was selling some tickets to the Nationals vs. Brewers baseball game on Saturday.  The Wisconsin native not only used the free online marketplace to find baseball tickets, but also found her apartment on Craigslist.  

Nicole’s phone rang and the man selling her the tickets, Don, informed her that he had arrived with the tickets.  She walked over to meet him and I followed her over hoping to still ask her a few more questions (I’m persistent).  Don, who had also served in the military, was unable to go to Saturday’s baseball game because he had tickets to game 2 of the Capitals playoff series with the Montreal Canadiens. 

Nicole paid Don and he handed over the tickets and then gave her $20 and said, “The first beers are on me.  Enjoy the game!”  I thought that was a really nice gesture.  I told Don about my kindness project and gave him my card.

He left and Nicole and I spoke for a few more minutes.  I was interested in her own giving habits and how those ideas were formed.  Like me, she suspected that her values on giving were probably shaped by her parents.  Given her current financial situation, she is limited in how much she can donate to organizations, however, sometimes she gives money to people she encounters on the streets of DC.  “It’s more of a spontaneous decision,” she tells me as she explains why she gives.  Coincidentally while we were talking a woman walked by asking for money and we both refused to give to her.

Nicole plans to use the $10 to buy some food at the ball game.  I asked her if there was anything that she needed help with that I could post on the Lend a Hand page.  She thought for a minute and said that she needed someone to buy her fish tank.  “It’s a 10 gallon fish tank in good shape.  I just want to get a bigger one.  It comes with the stand, pump, heater, some rocks, and plants.”  If you are in the DC Metro Area and are interested in a fish tank, drop me a note and I’ll connect you with Nicole.

We walked toward the metro where we said goodbye to one another and she thanked me.  I nodded and thanked her for her military service.

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I have gotten way behind…all the wonderful emails, comments, media and speaking requests, etc…added to being out of town for a couple days has taken its toll.  Thankfully I got a good night’s sleep last night and am recharged and ready to get caught up!

On Wednesday I headed to Dupont Circle to meet with Katherine Frey and Susan Kinzie of the Washington Post.  Susan had tagged along with me the day before and today Katherine joined to photograph my Year of Giving.

We ran into Bill from Day 36…he was playing an original song he wrote called “Made as One” at the South end of the circle (click here for a pic of us talking).  We chatted briefly…he seems like he is doing well. He is still looking for some places to play.  He used to play at Potbelly’s some evenings, but they have stopped that.  If anyone would be interested in having Bill play at their establishment, let me know.

It was a little after 5pm and the sun’s shadows were growing longer.  I wanted to walk over to the area where the chess players hang out.  It was there I met Sean.

Sean waits his turn to play chess (Photo: Reed)

Sean is a telecommunications engineer with the US Army.  I asked him what he did more specifically and he responded, “I like to tell people that I used to be the guy that you would see in the movies carrying that bag…well, now I try to destroy the other guy’s network!”  When he is not serving our country, the father of three daughters likes spoken word poetry and playing chess.

Sean had made his way up to Dupont Circle after finishing work for the day.  He stands carrying a chess set that he says belongs to his daughter.  In fact he has taught all three daughters to play chess.  Although this is the first time he has been to the circle since winter and snow blanketed Washington, he tries to play as much as possible.

“This is like crack” he says, “although I have never tried it, it’s gotta be something like this.”  “I wake up in the morning thinking about it.  It’s sick!” he says with a grin. 

Today all the chess tables are taken.  Sean waits his turn.  “That’s ok though.  I like to watch.  There are some really good guys here and I always learn something.”

It was about this time that I learned something that I never knew before.  Sean tells me that he played chess for the Army for 4 or 5 years.  I figured he meant that he was in like a chess club at the different locations he was stationed at, but I was wrong.  In fact Sean’s job for the Army was to play chess.  He was on the Army chess team and that was his job.  I had no the military had chess players on the payroll! 

I had a lot of great video of Sean, but for some reason it was not saved on my camera.  I did have some other quick video clips that I had taken later that I have put together here.  Sean talks a little bit about playing chess for the Army, donating his time, and teaches me a little chess lingo.

As for the $10 he said that he was going to give it to his daughters.

Well, that’s it for today.  I am going to go start practicing my chess game.  Maybe the Army will hire me!

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