SARASOTA/BRADENTON, FL – More than 100 community members gathered for the “Salute the Runway Fashion Show & Dinner,” an event to honor women veterans, presented by Goodwill Manasota and The Law Place. Guests enjoyed a lovely rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” courtesy of Goodwill Manasota vice president and Mistress of Ceremonies Veronica Brandon Miller, dinner selections from Anna Maria Oyster Bar, Carmel Kitchen, Pizza SRQ, Kona Grill, Oak & Stone and Sift Bake House, a keynote speech by Retired Colonel Linda Gould, who shared details from her 30 years of service in the U.S. Army and talked about the difficulty veterans can face when returning to their communities and families, and a fashion show featuring nine area women veterans.
Veterans walking the runway included Goodwill’s director of the Veterans Services Program C.J. Bannister, Corinne Harris North Fuller, Jessica Hughes, Karrie Jewell, Heather Koester, Kimberly Kramer, Angela Mauldin, Julie Simonson and Clara Vazquez. The women wore beautiful evening gowns found at local Goodwill retail stores for just $5.99 or $12.99, a fraction of their original cost.
Guests were also treated to short videos showcasing each veteran discussing her service to our country and how it impacted her life. Photographer Dave Taylor and videographer Aaron Barnes of Illusive Views donated their services for this event, as did Cutting Loose salon owner Coral Pleas, whose salon team styled the women. At the end of the event, The Law Place owner David Haenel presented a check for $2,000, designated to assisting women veterans, to Miller.
“Goodwill Industries was one of the first organizations to respond to the multitude of challenges faced by veterans and their families. We are committed to improve the career, educational and wellness opportunities for veterans and military families. Hiring veterans is not charity – it’s an investment in our community,” said Goodwill Manasota vice president Miller. “We are so grateful to the businesses that help us to serve veterans through financial assistance and outreach efforts, particularly The Law Place, who is a frequent partner for veterans’ events and programs.”
Proceeds from the event benefited Goodwill’s Veterans Services Program, which has assisted more than 1,000 veterans since it began three years ago. For more information, call (941) 355-2721 or go to experiencegoodwill.org.
The veterans who walked the runway were (from l-r) C.J. Bannister (Air Force), Kim Kramer (Air Force), Jessica Hughes (Army National Guard), Karrie Jewell (Navy), Clara Vazquez (Navy), Corinne North-Fuller (Army), Julie Simonson (Army), Heather Koester (Army) and Angela Mauldin (Army)
Representatives from The Law Place included (from l-r) David Haenel, Mary LeMay and Rebecca Cioci (far right) with photographer David Taylor (second from right)
Keynote speaker Retired Colonel Linda Gould (left) with Goodwill Manasota vice president and event emcee Veronica Brandon Miller
Photo by Lori Sax
About Goodwill Manasota
Goodwill Manasota is an industry-leading, 501(c)(3), not-for-profit organization that changes lives through the power of work. With the sales of donated goods and philanthropic donations, Goodwill is able to assist people with disabilities and other barriers to employment by providing job skills training and employment opportunities. In 2015, Goodwill Manasota served 22,739 people, placed 961 people in jobs and assisted 358 veterans as they reintegrated back into the civilian workforce. Goodwill Manasota’s economic impact back to the community is worth $81.3 million. Goodwill is one of the pioneers of the reduce-reuse-recycle movement and this past year diverted 41 million pounds out of the landfill. We accomplish our mission through a network of Good Neighbor Centers in Sarasota, Manatee, Hardee and DeSoto counties and our Mission Development Services (MDS) around North America. Goodwill Manasota is accountable to a local Board of Directors. Goodwill Manasota in essence belongs to this community, and is not owned by any individual or company. For more information, visit www.experiencegoodwill.org.