Supporting Fort Meade’s Military Spouses
Shannon Reed, who owns her own nail care company in Severna Park, has always held military families in high esteem; with her own son seeking a future in the military, Reed began thinking about the sacrifices and struggles that come with being a military spouse or family member and how those profound sacrifices often go unnoticed. With a desire to bring support and attention to the local military spouses at Fort Meade, Reed set out to provide the ladies with what she knows best: a day of pampering and personal care.
Together with her good friend Jennifer Monday, Reed concocted a plan for a military spouse appreciation day, where local military wives from Fort Meade could come together for a day of manicures, massages, makeup, hair and simple relaxation. What Reed didn’t anticipate was providing these lovely ladies with a rare and precious opportunity, to connect with one another and relax, away from the immeasurably difficult world of raising a family, running a household and keeping everything afloat while your spouse is deployed.
An Opportunity to Give Back
When ZBest Worldwide caught wind of Reed’s plan to bring the military wives together for this special day, they immediately offered the services of one of their luxury Mercedes Sprinter Vans, free of charge, to help make the day extra enjoyable for these special ladies.
The ZBest Limousine retrieved 14 military wives from Fort Meade, a group of ladies known collectively as the Enlisted Spouse Group, at around 9 am on the big day, and carried them over to the venue where the event was being held. That venue was Lighthouse Church in Glen Burnie, where Shannon Reed is a member.
“When I asked my church if I could use the space for this event, I was fully prepared to pay a rental fee. But they not only waived the fee, they also provided childcare for these ladies for the duration of the event, which was amazing,” Reed said of Lighthouse Church’s involvement in the big day.
Making a Difference
Once ZBest’s limousine dropped the ladies off at Lighthouse Church, a nearly perfect day began to unfold. ZBest, Reed, Monday, and the myriad of workers involved in the event had worked hard to provide these ladies and their families with everything they would need to truly enjoy themselves.
In addition to childcare, Monday and Reed found a volunteer face painter and balloon animal artist to make sure the kids were happy and occupied. A representative from Dogs on Deployment, a non-profit that finds foster homes for deployed servicepeople’s pets, was also on hand to provide support, answer questions and reach out to any military members that were present.
When it came to the beauty professionals who so graciously volunteered their services for the day, Reed is stunned with gratitude: “These ladies really went above and beyond to provide something special for the military spouses. Our masseuses gave massages every 15 minutes non-stop, from 10 am until 2 pm. We had 5 nail technicians, 11 hairstylists and 3 makeup artists, all of whom worked tirelessly all day to give these women something truly special.”
In addition to Lighthouse Church, the childcare workers, the children’s area volunteers and the beauty professionals, local restaurants and businesses donated food so the ladies could eat during the event. Beefalo Bob’s, in particular, donated over 20 pounds of meat to Operation Beauty in Arms. Other local businesses donated gift cards and additional prizes for a Giving Tree raffle, which handed out prizes every half hour throughout the event.
ZBest Worldwide is honored to have been part of such a wonderful cause, alongside great businesses and beauty professionals.
“Having a driver and a vehicle there to pick the ladies up and drive them around, so they wouldn’t have to worry about it, was just such a nice thing. They all just loved it. I’m sure the chauffeur has plenty of stories to tell!” Reed says of ZBest’s service to “Operation Beauty in Arms.”
More Than Just Pampering
The most important part of the day, Reed says, was providing these ladies with the opportunity to look and feel beautiful, to have a day that is all about them, because such days are rare for a military spouse. One lady had this to say: “One of the girls there had needed a haircut for a long time, but was new to the area and felt uncomfortable asking someone to babysit her kids for free; if she had paid for a babysitter, she wouldn’t have been able to afford the haircut. She was thrilled to have daycare provided, to be pampered, and fed, and just feel special.”
The loneliness and isolation of being a military spouse is also something Reed wanted to address, in bringing the ladies together and giving them a place to interact when they might not have had the opportunity otherwise. “It’s always weighed heavy on my heart that these military spouses need support and care. And I’m honored to be able to provide them with a little of both.”
Reed is overwhelmed with gratitude for everyone involved; she and Monday are already planning another “Operation Beauty in Arms,” with hopes to turn the project into a non-profit foundation that provides support, personal care and beauty services for military spouses across the country.