The date is October 14, 2008 and it was in the early morning hours at the Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington D.C. This was not going to be any ordinary day for some of the soldiers that are currently staying at the medical center, because today some of the top pros in the game of poker are going to be stopping by to say how much they appreciate the sacrifice that members of the U.S. military give. Not only were the pros going to say thanks, but they also were going to throw a small poker tournament for the soldiers and their families. Also this day would not have been possible unless it wasn’t for the efforts of the USO of Metropolitan Washington and the Poker Players Alliance.
During this wonderful day of poker talk and poker play, over 100 people which included the injured soldiers and their families, got to interact with the pros that normally they would only see on tv. Top pros such as Howard Lederer and Phil Gordon said that it was an honor to them to be able to come to the Walter Reed Medical Center. Other poker pros that made the trip to the medical center were Andy Bloch, Victor Ramdin, Gavin Griffin, Rhett Butler, Leeann Tweeden who is a host on NBC’s Poker After Dark and then there was the World Series of Poker final table chip leader Dennis Phillips to round out the group.
All of the soldiers were touched that the pros could take time out of their day to come and visit. Elaine Rogers, president of the USO-Metro said “We’re thrilled that these top poker pros would come out and spend a day with our soldiers and their families, poker is a very popular activity among the soldiers spending time at Walter Ree recovering from their injuries, and this was a great opportunity for them to mingle with and learn from the best poker players in the country.”
When asked about their day at the Walter Reed Medical Center, the following pros said:
“It was an honor to be involved with the USO and to boost the morale of soldiers, who were so grateful to see us, when in reality we were the ones who were truly grateful for the time we got to spend with them.” said Gavin Griffin
“Joining the USO and visiting our troops, who have sacrificed so much, was one of the most emotional and rewarding experiences of my life.” said Howard Lederer
“Spending time with these soldiers, with their spirit and joy, shows what is really important in life.” said Andy Bloch
“I have never been so proud or so humbled before in my life. You just want to stand up and shout to the world about what an honor it is to be allowed to play cards with these heroes who sacrificed so much to protect our liberties.” said Dennis Phillips