About Patriot Cruise and Salute
Patriot Cruise and Salute is a non-profit charitable organization formed to organize free recreational boating events to benefit US Armed Forces, Gold Star Families, and Law Enforcement.
Founded by two retired military officers, Patriot Cruise and Salute provides recuperating veterans and their families a day of boating and camaraderie on the Potomac River, recognizing that healing veterans and their families at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and Fort Belvoir Community Hospital are often separated from their homes, extended families and their friends. Each year the community comes together to say “Thank You” to these heroes and their families by providing a much-needed mental respite.
In its 13th year, the original Patriot Cruise and Salute, typically held in early June, includes an afternoon of boating on the Potomac River, a cookout, music, activities for kids, and a coin ceremony. Each event promotes camaraderie and offers the community a chance to give back to these veterans for their service and sacrifice to our country.
The vision of Patriot Cruise and Salute is anywhere there are boaters and US Armed Forces, Gold Star Families, and/or Law Enforcement, a Patriot Cruise event can be hosted. We hope to expand to other locations across the country to support more veterans and wounded warriors, Gold Star Families and Law Enforcement. Individuals and organizations interested in hosting a Patriot Cruise event are invited to contact us.
To learn more about how to support Patriot Cruise and Salute, visit our donate page.
Ed and Christine Mason founded the Patriot Cruise and Salute on Memorial Day 2007 by taking out eight guest from Walter Reed Medical Center on their boat, American Spirit, but the idea behind Patriot Cruise and Salute is really based on their personal experiences.
During the deployment of Colonel Ed Mason to Iraq, Christine was holding down the home front. As fate would have it Christine’s cousin was recovering from injuries sustain in Iraq at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, DC. Christine saw firsthand how healing warriors are in need of a respite from the surroundings of a hospital environment.
Upon the return of her husband, Colonel Ed Mason, from Operation Iraqi Freedom while serving as Commander, 101st Soldier Support Battalion (Destiny Support), was assigned to the U.S. Army Human Resources Command at the Pentagon. He was chosen to execute an initiative of the Secretary of the Army, the Wounded Soldier and Family Hotline (WSFH). The purpose of the hotline is to offer wounded, injured and ill Soldiers and their family members a way to share concerns on the quality of patient care as well as provide senior Army leaders visibility on medically related issues.
The Masons, feeling blessed with life’s good fortune, decided to take the WSFH one step further by offering wounded warriors and their families a day of respite.
Since its founding, Patriot Cruise and Salute has hosted over one thousand recuperating service members and their families and has even expanded to Mt. Dora, Florida.
Christine and Ed Mason, co-founders of Patriot Cruise and Salute
"You see life. You see birds. You see nothing like this in Afghanistan."
-- Army Reserve Specialist May Agurto
"The hospital can be depressing at times, so if you can get out, it's an opportunity of a lifetime. I can't thank the sponsors and the people enough."
-- Chief Master Sgt. Sandy Ware
Board of Directors
Ed Mason is a retired Army officer and co-founder of Patriot Cruise and Salute. A recreational boater, Ed is rewarded by giving back to follow service members by providing them a carefree opportunity to experience the fun, freedom, and camaraderie of recreational boating while also providing a mental respite from their medical concerns.
Currently Ed works for CALIBRE Systems, Inc, leading human capital accounts business development across defense and federal civilian sectors.
Ed retired from the Army with 28 years of leadership and management experience across Department of Defense. In his last position, he served as the senior consultant on Transition Policy to Vice Chief of Staff, Army and senior leaders across the Human Capital, Medical, Installation, Training, Guard and Reserve Enterprises, along with federal Departments of Labor and Veterans Affairs, U.S. Congress, and the White House.
As a soldier, Ed spent many years overseas. His last deployment was in 2005 with the 101st Airborne Division where he commanded a battalion in Iraq to conduct finance, postal, casualty, replacement and general human resource operations in support of Task Force Band of Brothers in Multinational Division-North.
Christine Mason is a retired Army logistics officer and co-founder of Patriot Cruise and Salute. Her first military assignment was in a floating craft (boat) unit, but this isn’t when she developed a love of boating. Christine has been boating most of her life. Another love she has is the love of her country and those who selflessly serve. Patriot Cruise and Salute provides the opportunity to continue to say thank you for their service and her appreciation of their call to duty.
Currently, Christine works for Decisive Point Consulting Group, providing strategy, business development, capture, bid and proposal, and operational support across the defense and federal civilian sectors.
Earlier in her career as an Army logistics officer, Christine served in a variety of command and staff positions. Her overseas assignments include two tours to Germany and one to Honduras. During her career she provided logistical support to over 2,600 Bosnian humanitarian aid airdrops, as well as support to units deployed in Zagreb and Somalia. She also developed and executed support plans for all services operating in Honduras and other Central American countries. For Christine's last command, she was responsible for approximately 3,000 enlisted soldiers, officers and international officers.
Carlton Phillips is the owner of Prince William Marine Sales, Inc., a successful Sea Ray boat dealership and marina in Northern Virginia since 1983.
In addition to serving on the Patriot Cruise and Salute board, Carlton is tremendously supportive of military service members and their families, and is a patron of the Fisher House, which provides free or low cost lodging to veterans and military families receiving treatment at military medical centers.