Salute to Our Troops shows appreciation to Soldiers, Families
May 10, 2012
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (May 10, 2012) -- Ten pageant winners from the Miss Alabama organization visited Fort Rucker on May 4 with one goal in mind -- to show their appreciation for Soldiers and Families.
The Salute to Our Troops tour started with a demonstration of various weapons and night vision goggles; followed by lunch, photos and autographs at the Post Exchange Mall. The day ended with a concert for Soldiers and Families at the post theater.
"It's a great opportunity to see what the Soldiers go through and how they prepare to protect us," said Caitlin Guffin, last year's Miss Wiregrass Area and the current Miss West Central. "We know they are out there fighting for us, but we don't think about all the steps it takes to get there."
Each pageant winner who attended the event participated in the Miss Alabama or Miss Alabama Outstanding Teen program. Most won a preliminary pageant and will compete for the Miss Alabama title in June, explained Brooke Smith, co-director of the Miss Wiregrass Area pageant.
"We are here to show our appreciation for you, our military, and your Families," she said during the concert. "We are absolutely indebted to you as you guard our freedoms, represent our country at home and abroad, fight as needed and keep this great land safe from attack."
The concert included singing, dancing, several piano solos, a violin solo and a bass clarinet solo. During each performer's turn on stage, Katie Andrews, the current Miss Wiregrass Area and hostess of the Salute to Our Troops event, asked the performers about something they had learned during the morning demonstrations.
The questions were intended to simulate the interview questions contestants must answer on stage during competitions, Andrews explained, adding that the process challenges contestants to "think on their feet" and tests how well they handle talking under pressure.
Andrews said she feels like Fort Rucker is an extension of her community because she grew up in Ozark and her Family attended many events on post.
"Giving back is the least I can do," she added.
Soldiers who attended the concert said they were impressed by the talent showcased during the concert. "I thought it was fabulous -- a wide variety of talents," said 2nd Lt. Gavin Rollins, B Co. 1st Bn., 145th Avn. Regt. "The ladies presented themselves well."
WO1 Darrell Lesikar, B Co. 1st Bn., 145th Avn. Regt., agreed, saying, "I thought it was great -- especially the piano performances."
Andrews closed the concert by singing "God Bless America" and inviting the Soldiers to attend the Miss Alabama pageant in June and the Miss Wiregrass Area pageant in October.
"Again, Fort Rucker, we salute you," she said.