USO tour veteran Kellie Pickler is no stranger to supporting our men and women in uniform–it’s something she’s been doing since she set out on her first USO tour in 2007. Along the way she’s lifted the spirits of more than 30,000 servicemen and women stationed in eight countries. So, it’s no surprise that the country music singer/songwriter wanted to do something special for our female soldiers spending Valentine’s Day in Afghanistan and Kuwait.
Having traveled to Afghanistan on three out of her six USO tours, the songstress learned first-hand how difficult it is to feel like a lady when you’re in the desert. When she found out about “Ladies Night,” hosted monthly by USO centers in the Middle East, Pickler jumped at the chance to be involved. Designed to give our female soldiers a chance to bond with each other, pamper themselves and take a much-needed break from military living, the events are strictly ladies only.
Backed by a team of sponsors including Bed Bath & Beyond, Orville Redenbacher’s Gourmet Popping Corn, Dearfoams and US Weekly magazine, Pickler wrapped up some of her favorite “girlie” items and sent them overseas to our female soldiers for a special Valentine’s Day edition of “Ladies Night.” Boxes filled with hard-to-get items such as nail polish, slippers, manicure kits, chocolates and chick flicks, among other items, arrived just in time for a holiday treat. While the mega star wasn’t able to attend the events in person, she did pop in for a virtual visit on Skype and delivered a special message of thanks and support to the servicewomen.
“I am grateful to all of our servicemen and women for the sacrifices they make, but I have a special place in my heart for servicewomen,” says Pickler. “They are some brave, beautiful and dedicated women. That’s why I wanted to do something special just for them this Valentine’s Day. While our servicewomen are spending this time away from their family and loved ones I wanted them to be able to take a moment and pamper themselves.”
• Donated items were shipped to USO Centers at Camps Leatherneck and Marmal, Forward Operating Bases Sharana and Shindand, Airfields Bagram and Kandahar in Afghanistan as well as Camp Buehring in Kuwait.
• Each location received packages filled with make-up, manicure and pedicure products, moisturizers, soaps and a variety of other pampering products donated by Bed Bath & Beyond; the current special edition of US Weekly featuring a four-page spread from her last USO Tour; snacks from Orville Redenbacher’s; Dearforms slippers; greeting cards, as well as other products.
• Pickler Skyped in for a LIVE chat with female service members at USO Shindand and USO Kandahar in Afghanistan and USO Camp Buehring in Kuwait. For those locations unable to participate in the LIVE chat, due to connectivity restraints, Pickler pre-recorded a special message of ‘thanks.’
• Always a strong supporter of our servicemen and women and military families, the country music artist recently auctioned off her 2012 Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn truck (courtesy of Ram Trucks) and donated the proceeds, totaling more than $35,000, to the USO in support of USO Warrior and Family Care programs and services.
• This past December, Pickler traveled with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey on her sixth USO tour and delivered holiday cheer and support to more than 6,000 servicemen and women serving in the Middle East.