For What It’s Worth

Military-made dress

News stories highlighting ways military personnel have returned from deployment and surprised their families, usually the children, are common in newspapers and on TV. Most frequently in the stories I have read or viewed the returning military personnel have surprised their kids at school or at ballgames, such as the occasion this week when a man arranged to be the catcher and have his 10-year-old daughter throw out the first pitch at a major league baseball game. After catching the ball, he removed his catcher’s mask to reveal himself to his daughter and wife, who was with the daughter.

These are touching and emotional occasions and make great feature stories because of the human interest factor involved. Readers and viewers react positively to the stories, which are in stark contrast to the crime and mayhem stories.

As memorable as those occasions may be for the children involved, I’m guessing that equally memorable, if not moreso, is the surprise way a former military man in Marshfield, WI, helped make his daughter’s Junior Prom memorable.

David Herron’s 17-year-old daughter Mariah had a special wish—she wanted a prom dress made from camouflage fabric. I think you will agree that this was a bit unusual and that finding such a dress would be difficult. David said that his daughter loves to hunt, fish and be outdoors and really wanted a camo prom dress. He said they looked online and everything was too expensive. So, he suggested going to a fabric store and looking at patterns. As for sewing the dress, he said, “I just figured that we knew a few people who could if we asked them to.”

Little did he think he would be the one doing the sewing. In the military he had learned how to sew his stripes and hem his uniforms, but making a prom dress was new territory. “Mariah wanted a dress with a corseted back but the woman at the fabric store said that would be too complicated and gave us suggestions for what we could do,” David said. “At that point, I decided to take on the challenge. My next thought was: ‘Oh, God, what have I done?’” Determined to make his daughter happy, he paid $97 for the material and took on the project.

He turned the family room into a sewing shop with one table as the fabric station and one for the sewing machine. He spent hours studying the camo fabric and sewing instructions. He said his wife periodically asked if he needed help and suggested calling a professional. “But I’m a perfectionist and wanted to do it myself,” he said. He continued on and, although his daughter and others got nervous about whether he would finish the dress in time, he made the deadline.

As reported in a story on Yahoo!: Six weeks later, the results were in: A strapless, black satin gown made from Snow White Camouflage fabric with a white underlayer and covered with black tulle. The top of the dress is lined with a thin black ruffle and a black satin bow is fastened to the back of the dress. The waist is lined with shotgun shells. David topped off the look with brown and white boots he bought for his daughter.

Mariah debuted her winter white camo dress at the recent Marshfield, WI, High School Junior Prom. “She loves it,” David said. “She even asked if I’d make her wedding dress.”

To which he responded, “We’ll see.”

I’m wondering if that answer is camouflage for: “No way, sweetheart; we’re buying your wedding dress.”

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