September 6, 2018

Deploy your dress

Story by Bonnie Conrad

Fort Irwin, Calif – Last month I had three ball gowns hanging in my closet. I have only worn one of them for the past two military balls that we have attended. So why was I hanging on to the other two? I have yet to answer that question! However, I am now down to ZERO dresses in my closet and I could not be happier! Why you ask? I shed my extra dresses to an amazing and up-and-coming non-profit organization located right here on Fort Irwin called Operation Deploy Your Dress. Operation Deploy Your dress is a donation based, volunteer run, military spouse founded nonprofit. Within the organization, they collect new and gently used formal attire through donations from the community and independent well-wishers. From there they redistribute (or redeploy) the dresses and accessories at no cost to dependents and military members. This organization was started to help absolve some of the costs for families attending formal events and military balls.

Guess what the best part is? We have our very own ODYD here at Fort Irwin. Our branch here is currently being ran by the charismatic Kat Thayer. Kat is the coordinator here at Fort Irwin. Within the next six months Kat would like to have a brick and mortar boutique here on Fort Irwin and acquire 300 more dresses. “The more variety we have, the more opportunity we will have to find the perfect gown for each and every person that walks in our door” stated Kat.

     Last month, ODYD held an event at the Sandy Basin Ball Room. Here, with the 500 dresses they had on their racks, they were able redeploy 45 dresses back into the community! One of my favorites spouses was Dana Foshee. She walked into the door very nervous and not knowing what to expect. Dana was greeted with a smile and then whisked off to the stylist. With patience and encouragement from all the volunteers, Dana was about to find the PERFECT dress. She walked out with a million dollar smile. “ I was getting so discouraged but everyone was so helpful and I was able to find the dress I came in for. It was meant to be.” said Dana. 

Operation Deploy Your Dress is always taking donations for not only dresses but also the gently new or used accessories to go along with the dresses. If you would like more information on how to volunteer, donate or come get a dress for yourself, please visit their Facebook page at

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