Video by Sandi Moynihan
JACKSONVILLE, Florida – Brooke Ruud, 15, never thought she’d be wearing a designer dress to her high school prom this year. But thanks to USO Operation: That’s My Dress!, Ruud, along with 400 other Jacksonville-area military teens, will dance the night away in the Sherri Hill-designed gowns of their dreams.
“I’m just so grateful that this has all happened to me,“ Ruud said. “It’s extraordinary.”
For more than five years, USO Operation: That’s My Dress! has provided military teens with the chance to enjoy an afternoon filled with glamour, pampering and fun while they shop for a formal dress to wear to homecoming, prom or other special occasions.
“We hope they’re thrilled,” Hill said. “Some girls have never tried on a dress like this. So it’s almost like playing dress-up.”
In addition to leaving with a new gown, teens also received Stella & Dot jewelry, L’Oréal make-up and hair products and had their hair and make-up done. Guests also enjoyed a fashion show featuring Miss USA and Miss Teen USA state titleholders, as well as a performance by the USO Show Troupe.
“My biggest wish is that these women leave feeling empowered, that they feel like they can do anything and accomplish anything they want to,” said Ray Kennedy, vice president of programs for USO of Metropolitan New York.
As if an afternoon of glitter and glitz wasn’t enough, L’Oreal and JetBlue flew Brooke and her mother, Victoria, to New York City for a week of sightseeing, pampering and relaxation with other military families.
“I feel so blessed to even get to see that sparkle in my daughter’s eye,” said Victoria. “It’s an amazing organization.”