Veterans of the battlefield, football field and White House gathered for a fundraiser at The Park at Fourteenth.
The host was Ovie Mughelli, a former all-pro fullback for the Atlanta Falcons, St. Louis Rams and Baltimore Ravens, whose foundation educates young people about clean energy and environmental issues.
“It’s about time,” he said of the Super Bowl victory by the Ravens.
That was one of the few mentions of football on Friday night, when the Ovie Mughelli Foundation’s work on sustainability was the main topic of conversation.
The Dallas Cowboys’ Eric Frampton and Winston Justice of the Indianapolis Colts mingled with veterans from Operation Free, a network of military and national-security professionals who recognize climate change as a threat. Operation Free is a campaign of the Truman National Security Project.
Michael Breen, Truman’s executive director who served with the U.S. Army in Iraq and Afghanistan in the U.S. Army, said that his fellow veterans learned firsthand about America’s dependence on foreign oil while on duty. He said he was delighted Mughelli is taking this cause to the streets.
“Why would a 6-foot-2-inch, 250-pound, good-looking football player care about the environment?” Mughelli asked the crowd, who chuckled in response.
He explained that fatherhood -- he has two daughters -- has helped him see the green movement’s extension beyond “butterflies and polar bears.” He’s especially concerned about air and water quality in underserved communities. The children “affected most by the environment care about it the least.”
Mughelli has spoken at the White House three times on sports and sustainability. He has also joined Earth Day events on the National Mall. He said he’s looking forward to being back for the annual Easter Egg Roll.
Last week the White House announced that this year’s event will have a “Be Healthy, Be Active, Be You!” theme and will feature sport courts and food stations.
Greg Nelson, the chief of staff at the National Economic Council, Brad Jenkins, the associate director in the Office of Public Engagement at the White House, and Jonathan Powers, the administration’s federal environmental executive, turned out to support Mughelli.
Other political types there included Tom Rossmeissl, a senior associate for strategist Joe Trippi, and Rob McCulloch, a senior policy and legislative advocate for the BlueGreen Alliance.
They snacked on crab cake sliders and chicken nuggets while bottles of Budweiser were passed.
The evening was “the most all-American event in the nation’s capital. We’re trending on Twitter in D.C. now,” Mughelli boasted.
Emily Tisch Sussman, smiling broadly, wore a sparkly blue New York Giants jersey. “It’s my grandmother’s,” she said. Grandma is Joan Tisch, a co-owner of the Giants.
(Stephanie Green is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)
Muse highlights include Jeremy Gerard on U.S. theater, Elin McCoy on wine, Craig Seligman on books and interviews by Zinta Lundborg and Farah Nayeri.
To contact the writer on this story: Stephanie Green in Washington at email@example.com or on Twitter @stephlgreen.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at firstname.lastname@example.org.Federal Environmental Executive Jonathan Powers, former NFL player Ovie Mughelli, and Michael Breen, the executive director of the Truman National Security Project. Photographer: Stephanie Green/Bloomberg Former NFL player Chester Pitts, Young Democrats of America executive director Emily Tisch Sussman, and Tom Rossmeissl, a senior associate for strategist Joe Trippi. Photographer: Stephanie Green/Bloomberg Brad Jenkins, the associate director of the Office of Public Engagement at the White House, and Greg Nelson, the chief of staff at the National Economic Council. Photographer: Stephanie Green/Bloomberg James Bailey, Tucker Professorial Fellow of Leadership and Director of Executive Development Programs at George Washington University, and Eric Frampton with the Dallas Cowboys. Photographer: Stephanie Green/Bloomberg Karl Paymah, a free agent football player, and Winston Justice with the Indianapolis Colts. Photographer: Stephanie Green/Bloomberg Physician Manan Trivedi, Rob McCulloch, senior policy and legislative advocate for Blue Green Alliance, Douglas Peters, and Dan Futrell with YearUp Boston, all veterans and members of Operation Free. Photographer: Stephanie Green/Bloomberg Bernard Berrian, a free agent football player. Photographer: Stephanie Green/Bloomberg