Blog post by Jeanette Perthel

On a warm Thursday night, the sun sets on the patio at The Courtyard by Marriott Chevy Chase in Friendship Heights. This LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certified hotel was the venue June 2 for Bethesda Green’s “Step Up to Summer” happy hour where much of the environmental community gathered to eat, drink, and socialize in the summer air.

Everyone looked excited as they stepped onto the patio and saw the delightful set up. Savory appetizers and a bar serving wine, beer, and cocktails were calling everyone’s name as they settled into the welcoming and fun atmosphere. Each visitor donated $10 and in return they were entered in a raffle contest to win either the Green Guide: The Complete Reference for Consuming Wisely or two-night weekend stay at The Courtyard by Marriott, both prizes compliments of the hotel.

Many organizations and community leaders were present at Bethesda Green’s Happy Hour including: A Wider Circle; Clean Currents; Green Market Solutions; County Councilmember George Leventhal; and Jim Young, senior director, corporate facilities, Marriott International and an integral member of Marriott’s Green Council.

A Wider Circle Founder Mark Bergel

Mark Bergel, the Founder and Executive Director of A Wider Circle, presented an uplifting and inspiring speech that  encouraged all of us to come together to eradicate poverty in region. A Wider Circle is an incredible organization that provides basic needs such as furniture, home essentials financial planning, and stress management for those in poverty.

Picking the raffle winners followed the presentations. From a green bucket a small blue ticket was pulled and numbers were read aloud. Wendy Howard was the first winner! She won the Green Guide. As the next blue ticket was pulled and read aloud everyone was giddy and listening intently, hoping they would win the two-night stay at the hotel. Ironically, Marriott VP Jim Young’s number was pulled. Chuckling, he said, “pick another one.” Again the same silence fell as the numbers were read, this time Mike Kennedy won! Congratulations to both the winners!

The hum of conversation continued with many laughs, smiles, and pictures. Friendships bloomed and so did the summer season at the happy hour. One could tell it truly was the happiest of hours.

A Bethesda Green intern, Jeanette Perthel graduated from Churchill High School and is attending Towson University this fall.