Photo Information

Andray Blatche, Washington Wizards basketball player, takes a break from serving food to meet with Cpl. Poppy King, supply warehouse clerk, Marine Barracks Washington, during the "Salute to the Stars" luncheon at Morton's The Steak House in Washington, Oct. 21. The Wizards hosted service members to a generous feast to honor them and the sacrifices they make to protect the nation.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Johnny Merkley

Washington Wizards host luncheon for Marines, service members

21 Oct 2009 | Lance Cpl. Johnny Merkley

The Washington Wizards basketball players and staff invited service members from the National Capital Region to a luncheon at Morton’s Steakhouse in Washington, Oct. 21. 

Marines from Marine Barracks Washington, alongside service members from each branch of the armed forces, were treated to a luncheon, “Salute to the Stars.” The team held the event to honor service members and their families for the sacrifice they made on behalf of the nation.

Players, coaches, and executives personally entertained guests throughout the event while serving food and beverages. Many players, including Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood and Mike James, posed for photos and signed autographs.

The Wizards cheerleading team joined in and for more pictures and autographs while Marines snapped photos with their cameras and cell phones.

The Wizards momentarily took a break from hosting to personally thank the service members for their service and explain the reason for hosting the event.

“You guys serve on a daily basis and this event just gives us a chance to finally serve you,” said Brendan Haywood, the starting center for the Washington Wizards.

Being thanked by famous celebrity basketball stars was a once in a life time opportunity that was gratifying for many of the services members attending the luncheon, said Lance Cpl. Kyle Sullivan, a supply clerk with Headquarters and Service Company, MBW.

“Meeting Caron Butler and other famous basketball stars was an experience I will remember forever,” added Sullivan. “I felt honored to have them serve us and treat us with that kind of respect.”

The Wizards handed out gift bags for the departing service members, which included tickets to the upcoming Wizard’s “Salute to Stars” basketball game, autographed posters, and gift cards.  

“I can’t thank the Wizards enough,” said Sgt. Pedro Rivera, the S-4 training chief, H&S Co., MBW. “The food was great, the service was wonderful, and the event as a whole was something I will never forget.”