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Young America surprises military families with furniture

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla — About 30 new and expectant moms who are the spouses of deployed members of the U.S. Navy got a big surprise recently when they received nursery furniture from Young America during a group baby shower held in their honor.

 Young America operation showerOperation Shower Chief Event Planner Amy Belle Isle, from left, and co-host Amy Mickelson stand in front of the Young America crib display with a mom-to-be who is expecting twins and her U.S. Navy husband.

The Operation Shower event was held at the TPC Sawgrass golf course in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., as part of the PGA Tour's Birdies for the Brave fundraising weekend. Birdies for the Brave was founded by shower co-host Amy Mickelson and her husband, pro golfer Phil Mickelson, in 2005 to support wounded troops and their families. Cathy Justice, whose husband Jim owns The Greenbrier resort in West Virginia, was also a co-host.

As part of a shower, attendees were initially told that one grand prize package that included a Young America crib and case piece and a Colgate crib mattress would be raffled off. Instead, Young America officials announced that all the attendees would receive the package. The prize packages includes pieces from several Young America nursery collections, which are made in the manufacturer's plant in Robbinsville, N.C.

"The moms who attended the shower had absolutely no idea that they would be getting nursery furniture from Young America, and their reactions to the news were priceless!" said Amy Mickelson. "There was an audible gasp as everyone realized they had won, and some attendees were in tears, while others cheered like they had won the lottery. Thankfully, the excitement didn't cause anyone to go into labor!"

"Preparing for the birth of a child is one of the most important times in a couple's life," said Neil MacKenzie, director of marketing for Stanley Furniture. "However, for the thousands of military moms-to-be whose spouses are overseas, the experience can be somewhat bittersweet because a key family member is missing. Young America decided to participate in the ‘Babies for the Brave' event as a way to show our appreciation for the sacrifices these military families make to ensure our nation's safety. We're proud to know that our nursery furniture will keep the newest additions to these families safe as they await their parents' return home."

In addition to the furniture, each mom also received Operation Shower's Shower in a Box set, which includes baby bodysuits, crib bedding, clothing, diaper bags and more.

LeAnn Morrissey, founder of Operation Shower, said that at the end of the Babies for the Brave event, the organization would have helped its 1,000th military mom since being founded in 2007.

"Military moms are really the unsung heroes of our nation," Morrissey said. "Although they aren't serving overseas like their spouses, these women face an array of challenges - everything from the day-to-day stress of running a household alone to the unspoken fear that their loved one might not return home - and they do it with a quiet strength that deserves our utmost respect. It's rewarding to know that Young America's gifts will bring joy to these special families, who give up so much for their country."

A program that will feature highlights from the Birdies for the Brave weekend, including scenes from the shower, will air on the Golf Channel at 7 p.m. on Dec. 12.

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