USO Operation: That’s My Dress! Makes Prom Dreams Come True for Military Community
Monday, April 15, 2013
By Sarah Camille Hipp
FORT HOOD, Texas – A beautiful dress that earns you compliments all night long is every girl’s dream – especially at her high school prom. Unfortunately, this dream can cost a lot for military families on a tight budget.
On Saturday, USO Operation: That’s My Dress! made these dreams come true, free of charge, for more than 200 military daughters and wives of Fort Hood, Texas. About 500 dresses in multiple sizes – all valued between $450 and $1,200 – were available for ladies to choose from. Each participant was allowed to take one dress home for free.
The day began with a fashion show. The USO Show Troupe preformed a song and dance routine while 17 Miss USA titleholders modeled a selection of dresses donated by designer Sherri Hill, the event’s primary sponsor.
“The fashion show was awesome and a new experience for me,” said Katie DiGusto, 17. “It was my first time to ever see something like that.”
With her boyfriend by her side, DiGusto said she came to USO Operation: That’s My Dress! to find a beautiful dress to wear to her prom, just one week away.
USO of Metropolitan New York’s Ray Kennedy, who was instrumental in creating the first USO Operation: That’s My Dress! at Fort Campbell, Ky., last year, said he loved seeing girls smiling ear to ear as Miss USA titleholders helped them pick out their dresses and matching accessories.
“You see magic start to happen,” Kennedy said. “It’s so much more than just a prom dress for these girls.”
USO Operation: That’s My Dress! was available to military wives, as well. After picking a dress, women had the chance to pick out jewelry donated from the Stella & Dot Foundation, along with an evening purse.
The special day also included free lunch at the “Diva Diner,” makeup and hair demonstrations by InStyle and Rachel Freddo and a raffle for shoes by Alishia Hill.
Cheyenne Hamilton said she appreciated having Miss Virginia USA 2013 Shannon McAnally with her every step of the way as she decided which dress and selected accessories worked best for her to wear at her band banquet this spring.
Hamilton said finances are very tight in her family, especially because her dad is preparing to deploy to Afghanistan in June.
“It means the world to me,” Hamilton said. “To be able to get a free dress for my banquet is huge.”
USO Fort Hood Director Robin Crouse said USO Operation: That’s My Dress! is another way to remind military families that they always have the support of the USO.
“Our graduates are the future of our nation, our Army and the USO,” she said. “So many young girls, mothers and military spouses left very happy. It was a great day for everyone.”
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Photo caption: Miss Virginia USA 2013 Shannon McAnally poses with Cheyenne Hamilton during USO Operation: That's My Dress! on Sunday on Fort Hood, Texas. McAnally helped Hamilton choose a free dress and accessories for a spring banquet. (USO photo by Sarah Camille Hipp)
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