HANCEVILLE, AL - From the time girls hit their teens they dream of two events in their lives, their wedding day and their senior prom. You can hardly pinpoint the exact date of your wedding when you are thirteen, but you can narrow down your prom pretty well. You know what year, and you know it will be sometime that spring. Having marked that date in your mind, nothing much can interfere…unless a tornado blows away half of your town and maybe your dress.
That was the case when the Hanceville (Alabama) High School senior girls returned to school after the horrendous storm. They had other things on their minds until then, but seeing each other all together at school reminded them of just how close it was to prom night, and it wasn’t a pretty thought. There was talk of calling it off altogether.
A lot of families just couldn’t afford prom, not after loosing their homes, missing work, and restocking the freezer after days of power outages caused them to have to throw away their extra food. Things were looking dismal; there weren’t many smiling faces when prom was mentioned.
Then came the unexpected…you might say a fairy godmother appeared out of the blue. Just two days before prom, teachers met to hear the offer of dresses, shoes, corsages, boutonnieres, and even hair and make-up, free for the Hanceville High School Seniors of 2011, courtesy of Operation Prom.
Operation Prom is the brainchild of Ashley Murray, Lauren Jones, and Jade Rossetti, who all recalled what special nights their own proms were and wanted others to have their special nights to remember.
Friends since high school, the three young women were sitting around talking when the power was out. “We had been out volunteering around our
area, picking up limbs and such, and we started talking about doing something else to help,” said Murray. “Someone mentioned that it was prom time and we hit on an idea to help because prom is expensive and now there was this disaster on top of it.”
“We were blessed in our endeavor,” she said. “We found a building belonging to Frank Pitts, which he generously offered to loan us for one weekend – it’s been three weeks now. Hanceville was our third Operation Prom. We have been very successful in pounding the pavement for dresses, shoes, jewelry, cosmetics and flowers.”
“Right after the storm flowers shot up really high, but Cosco stepped up and donated the flowers for the corsages and boutonnieres,’ said Murray. “Casey Clark, owner of ‘Poor Little Rich Girl’ donated all the jewelry in her shop to the effort.”
As part of the phenomenon of Operation Prom, various make-up artists, hairstylists, nail technicians and other volunteers also stepped up to be a part of this joyful chance to give someone something that will be one of the best memories of their lives.
“I think this is the most rewarding thing I’ve ever been a part of,” said Murray. “Sometimes when the girls first come in they are a little shy, but after they see themselves all pampered and looking beautiful, they leave with big smiles of self-confidence.”
The trio was even able to receive a little help with tuxedos for the guys. Prom Dresses for Tornado Victims, a similar organization headed by Vicky Shields, also donated dresses when it came time for the Hanceville Prom.
The girl’s gratefully accepted the offer. Some of them already had their dresses, but they went to see what this unexpectedly…[READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE HERE]
Reprinted with permission of the Cullman Times