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    USO hosts Operation That’s My Dress for military teens in Fort Bragg area

    USO hosts Operation That’s My Dress for Military Teens in the Fort Bragg Area

    Courtesy Photo | Seventeen-year-old Grant Braxton poses with Miss Wisconsin USA 2015, Haley Laundrie,...... read more read more



    Courtesy Story

    Fort Bragg Garrison Public Affairs Office

    FORT BRAGG, N.C. – There were screams of excitement, a few tears of joy and mostly big smiles when 400 teen daughters of active-duty and reserve service members, their friends and family members gathered for the Operation That’s My Dress event Sunday, presented by the USO of North Carolina and the USO Metropolitan New York.

    Held at the Fort Bragg Conference and Catering Center, the teens and their families were treated to day of fashion and beauty courtesy of international designer, Sherri Hill. The half-day event opened with a fashion show featuring professional fashion models and Miss Teen USA and Miss USA title holders, as well as a Broadway-style performance by the USO Show Troupe.

    Following the entertainment, teen participants were escorted to a dress expo that featured a colorful assortment of high-quality gowns and cocktail dresses donated by Hill and other notable designers. Professional models and pageant title holders paired up with the teens to help them select the dress of their dreams from more than 1,800 options.

    While participants took turns at the dress expo, stylists volunteered to provide demonstrations and hair and makeup tips giving the girls additional resources to help them feel more confident and beautiful. With new dresses in hand, teens were then brought to a beauty bar where they received complimentary makeup and fashion accessories.

    According to the USO of North Carolina Fayetteville Center director, Renee Lane, the USO hosts this type of event to honor military teens who often face unique challenges related to military life with frequent moves, deployments and adapting to new environments and communities.

    “This event was beyond expectations for us, but mostly over the top for the girls who were here,” said Lane. "The military teen girls who came from across North Carolina left here with beautiful dresses and a tote bag filled with perfume, cosmetics and the works. I can’t tell you how happy I was to see the smiling faces of these young ladies who have been through so much over the years with dads and moms deploying. It was just absolutely phenomenal.”

    More than 1,400 service members and their families representing military bases across the state attended the event including military daughters, Anna Buzzard and Callista Moss. Both are 14 years old and have had to cope with frequent moves and family separations due to operational deployments throughout their childhood.

    Buzzard, whose father recently returned from a deployment to Iraq, said the event was a lot cooler than she thought it would be and was especially impressed with the variety of dresses and beauty products available to the participants.

    “I think it’s awesome. The dresses were just so pretty,” said Moss, whose father is the 43rd Airlift Group commander at Pope Army Air Field.

    Moss and her mother, Molly, also expressed their appreciation for the USO and the volunteers who came out to ensure the event ran smoothly and the girls left in high spirits.

    More than 40 people came out from different parts of the state to assist with setting up and operating the event including 17-year-old Grant Braxton who traveled from Fuquay-Varina with his mom to Fort Bragg where he helped with the setup and even modeled a tuxedo during the fashion show.

    “This is my first year working with Operation That’s My Dress and I loved it, every single minute of it,” said Braxton. “The interaction with the girls ... it’s just a lot of fun to help them out with picking out dresses. It's good camaraderie and I enjoyed it a lot.”

    Aside from the volunteers and staff, Lane said the USO of North Carolina also received a tremendous amount of support and donations from local Fayetteville and Fort Bragg vendors including: The Army and Air Force Exchange, the Fort Bragg Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation center, Fayetteville Cares, Coca-Cola, Corvias Military Living, Nilson Van and Storage Company, Coty, Sam’s Club, An Affair to Remember Bridal and Formal Wear, Owen’s Bordeaux Florist, Hand and Stone Massage and Facial Spa, Perlier, Campbell’s, Versona and Palmer’s.

    The Operation My That’s My Dress program is a premier family appreciation program that was created by the USO of Metropolitan New York. The program kicked off in 2012 at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, and has been ongoing for four years.

    In 2015 alone, the OTMD team will travel across the United States to seven different military communities including Las Vegas; New York City; Alexandria Bay, New York; Colorado Springs, Colorado; Jacksonville, Florida; and Tampa, Florida. The program was originally designed to honor military teens; however, it has been expanded to provide the same day of fashion to female service members and military spouses. To date, over 4,000 dresses have been donated to service women military spouses, and military daughters through Operation That’s My Dress.

    Next week, the USO will host the final Operation That’s My Dress event for the year in Jacksonville, Florida.



    Date Taken: 11.15.2015
    Date Posted: 11.18.2015 13:41
    Story ID: 182263
    Location: FORT BRAGG, NC, US 

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