Microsoft enlists Federal News Radio to aid troops' kids

Monday - 7/12/2010, 3:37pm EDT

By Tom Temin
Federal News Radio

The room was studded with gotta-get-a-look-at celebs, but work barely slowed down for the 150 volunteers.

We were stuffing, assembly line style, 5,000 nylon backpacks with school supplies.

The backpacks were destined, courtesy of Microsoft Federal and the USO, for distribution to children of military families in the D.C. metro area.

It all took place Sunday morning in a big conference room at Nationals Park.

I was near the end of one of the assembly lines, taking full bags from my daughter standing to my right.

Fast as I could, I zipped them shut and handed them to a volunteer, Stacy, who packed them into cartons for shipment.

The giant-headed presidents -- the ones that race in the middle of the fourth inning at Nats games -- were on hand, and did a little stuffing themselves. After a while, Matt Capps, the Nationals' closer who is headed for the All Stars game, joined the line to my daughter's right, tossing packs of markers into the fast-moving backpacks.

What a thrill!

Federal News Radio's sister station, WTOP, was represented by anchors Shawn Anderson (and his lovely wife Sharon O'Malley), Hillary Howard and Dimitri Sotis; reporters Michelle Basch (with husband Mike Wolf) and Mark Seagraves; and business side operatives Jeff Wolinsky and Rachel Dash.

Left fielder Josh Willingham also joined in, as did Microsoft Federal execs Curt Kolcun and Teresa Carlson.

Miss Virginia, a.k.a. Samatha Casey, ambled through the crowded room, helping out just by being Miss Virginia.

Also attending were Maj. Gen. Pete Chiarelli, the Army's vice chief of staff, and Nationals President Stan Kasten. Plus, a contingent of wounded warriors.

After the stuffing, which took about two hours, everyone trooped upstairs to the tented roof of the parking garage for a barbecue lunch, followed by a game in which the Nats hosted -- and were soundly bested by -- the San Francisco Giants.