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Monday, September 17, 2012

Helping Those Who Serve Us


This weekend, while my husband was scanning the pages of reddit, we ran across a link called "A Love Story in 22 Pictures." Upon clicking the link to the buzzfeed article, the picture below appeared with the accompanying caption, "A picture is worth 1,000 words. Keep tissues handy." For those of you who frequent reddit, you'll know that this isn't necessarily a typical post.  What followed was beyond moving.

Tim Dodd Photography.  Photo found online.
The photographs, from Tim Dodd Photography, captured the story of a young couple's bittersweet and inspiring love story. While the images depicted a story that was filled with loss and at times suffering, the couple's resilience and devotion to each other stood out. Really, the pictures showed what words can't. 

Sadly, they are not the only ones who have experienced such tragedy. Thousands of military families face difficult struggles and long roads to recovery. This couple's journey was a reminder of all the other military families whose sacrifices keep us safe and how important it is to show them how much we appreciate their service.

The stunning couple. Tim Dodd Photography.  Photo found online.
Recently, I learned about Brides Across America, a fantastic organization that works tirelessly to give back to military families by helping them celebrate their big day. Founded by Heidi Johnson, the organization unites military brides and bridal salons to help give the brides (and their grooms) the wedding of their dreams. Heidi’s background in the wedding industry gave her the knowledge and connections to make this happen. The inspiration for the idea came when she read an article about a soldier in Afghanistan who felt the US servicemen and their families were being forgotten. So, Heidi used her bridal boutique as a wedding gown donation drop off point and began Brides Across America. To make her vision happen and to reach as many military coupes as possible, Brides Across America teamed with Smiles Across the Miles and Oprah Winfrey’s Angel Network. Since its founding in 2007, the organization has helped thousands of military couples have the wedding of their dreams. The program has received over 7,000 dresses.

A couple that benefitted from Brides Across America. Photo found online.
The organization accepts dress donations and monetary gifts. If you are interested in donating your gown, it must be in excellent, clean condition and cannot be older than four years old.  The organization also accepts veils, tiaras and accessories, but no undergarments or petticoats.

If you had your gown preserved please unpack it from its original box and inspect it before shipping. Do not ship it in the preservation box, but in the smallest box possible.  If you would like to receive a tax donation receipt, include it in the shipping box with your name, address and email address. 
If you have questions about making a donation or would like to support Brides Across America, you can email donations@bridesacrossamerica.com. To find out about a Wedding Gown giveaway event near you, click here.

It might be just a small step in a much bigger "battle," but Brides Across America is making great strides to bring a little bit of joy into the one day when these couples should be able to leave all their worries behind.  


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