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‘Operation Deploy Your Dress’ opens Fort Stewart location

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Operation Deploy Your Dress, the Marne Spouses Club and the Association of the U.S. Army’s Marne Chapter partnered March 7 to open a sixth boutique at Fort Stewart, Ga.

More than 30 dresses and accessories were given away to DoD ID card holders during the grand opening event.

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At the grand opening event are, from left to right, Liz McKenrick, ODYD; Carla Schreihofer, AUSA Marne chapter president; Yvonne Coombes, ODYD; Thea Green, AUSA Family Readiness program manager; and Barbara Martin, AUSA Marne chapter treasurer.

Operation Deploy Your Dress (ODYD), began at Fort Bliss, Texas, in late 2015, when founders Renee Chapman, Ronya Rendon, Yvonne Coombes, Liz McKenrick and Melissa Riely decided to organize a dress swap among their units’ spouses, as a way to defray the costs associated with purchasing formal wear for holiday balls.

It wasn’t long before the idea became an organization run entirely by dozens of volunteers.

With the support of Fort Bliss’ garrison command and the Fort Bliss Spouses’ Club, ODYD set up a location next to the thrift shop.

Soon, other installations expressed interest, and within one year, ODYD opened at Fort Eustis, Va., and Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.

ODYD is now a well-organized store, albeit one that “sells” its goods for free.

Military service women and military spouses can come to ODYD and select one dress and one accessory per year.

They simply need to present their military ID card and sign the record book, and they can walk away without spending a dime.

The boutique at Fort Stewart, staffed by Marne Spouse Club members, will be open on Wednesdays.

With lots of volunteers, hours, dresses and a vision, the “Sip & See” event and ribbon cutting was the culmination of all the hard work.

Bringing the boutique to the Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield community was the vision of Lori Quintas, who was friends with one of the founders and saw the importance of bringing ODYD to the installation.