Operation Baby Shower: Dallas Cowboys give back

By Sgt. Andrew Mallett
7th MPAD

The National Football League's season is in full-swing, but that does not stop the Dallas Cowboys Franchise from taking time out to support those who serve our country and their families. The Cowboys Franchise held a two-day "Salute to Service" baby shower on Nov. 1st-2nd for four pregnant Soldiers and a pregnant spouse at their headquarters, "The Star," in Frisco, Texas. The guest of honor were treated to pampering, private lunch with staff, and even a meet-and-greet with players like Cowboys' star quarterback Dak Prescott.

"It's really awesome what they are doing for the military and their families," said Gabbi Lopez, an eight-year Army veteran and spouse of Staff Sgt. Vidal Lopez, who is deployed with the 3rd SFAB. "It was pretty difficult that my husband just deployed last week, and when I got the call that I was selected as one of the participants for this event it really helped balance it out."

The knowledge of having a spouse potentially missing the birth of their first child, and possibly even the first few months of the child's life is a very sensitive subject, Lopez said. She knows this lifestyle isn't easy but with the help of others, like the Cowboys franchise, she can get through it.

"We like to recognize all service members and veterans, whether past or present, and their families," said Whitney Faulkner, the Dallas Cowboys' public relations and community relations program manager. "The children, spouses and even extended family deserves appreciation for what they do."

The weekend began with a ride to Frisco on Cowboy's owner, Jerry Jones's personal charter bus. The expectant mothers were given a complimentary stay at the Omni Frisco Hotel, as well as receiving various baby gifts to include a personalized football jersey and newborn onesie.

In the spirit of pampering, the moms-to-be were given a free makeover at the Tangerine Salon (Frisco location) where they had the undivided attention of a team of highly trained professional hairdressers and make- up artists . The women were also gifted baby items and clothes from the Dallas Cowboys charity.

Fully primped and glossed, the ladies were given the opportunity to see behind the scenes of the Dallas Cowboys and watch a bit of their practice. As the guest of honor As the guest of honor, the women were given the opportunity to breakdown the team's huddle, and then were given the opportunity to meet the entire team.

"The Dallas Cowboys love to show their appreciation for the U.S. military and what they do," said Jason Garrett, head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, during the final huddle of practice.

The athletes, including players Ezekiel Elliot, Dak Prescott and Jason Witten, signed autographs and posed for pictures with the Soldiers and spouse. For Cowboys mega-fan and mom-to-be Spc. Alicia Key-Jones, assigned to the 3rd Brigade Engineer Battalion, this experience is something she will always brag about to her baby.

"She really got gifts from the Cowboys," Key-Jones exclaimed referring to her unborn child. "Mommy really got to meet Zeke! I have been a Cowboys fan forever. I was originally an alternate for this event so it is a blessing to be here."

Pregnancy and the demands of the military are not an easy combination for families to endure. The experience can be stressful for expectant Soldiers and the pregnant spouses who have Soldiers serving overseas. Through the "Salute to Service" weekend, not only were the women given a once-in-a-lifetime experience, they created connections with other women whose experience is as unique as their own.

"I haven't had many other pregnant moms around me," Lopez said. "I only had my husband. It means a lot to be around women that I have something in common with; being an expectant mother. I just want to thank the Cowboys so much for this opportunity."

The fun will continue when the women will be on the sidelines cheering for the Cowboys at their next home game against the Minnesota Vikings, Nov. 11.