Juneau woman collects formal wear for troops

Boehm says soldiers' spouses deserve to 'dress up like princesses'

Posted: Monday, November 02, 2009

Juneau resident Char Boehm couldn't sleep one night, so she went to her computer to read the Juneau Empire. That's when she learned the Armed Services YMCA at Fort Wainwright in Fairbanks was accepting donated gowns and accessories for military spouses to wear to banquets.

Brian Wallace / Juneau Empire
Brian Wallace / Juneau Empire

"Just then the Lord put it on my heart that I can do something for these women also," Boehm said, "(especially) knowing that our Alaska troops just came home last week and that these women deserve to dress up like princesses and to be by their husband's side to accept awards or attend a Battalion Ball, go to a banquet or a recognition ceremony."

In January, ASYMCA opened "After Five Boutique" for the purpose of loaning out free formal clothing - such as dresses, shoes, coats, stoles, and accessories such as evening purses and jewelry - to military dependents. Now, Boehm, co-owner of the local U-Haul, hopes Juneau will pitch in, too.

"Knowing money might be tight and that not having a gown might keep (these wives) from going, I thought I can do a little something for these women," she said. "That's where Juneau comes in. I know many closets have a few gowns hanging that I know gals won't wear twice here in Juneau, so let's help out."

Although she is not a military spouse, Boehm said she felt like giving back to the troops in a small way.

"I have several I'm donating also," she said. "It's time to clean out my closet."

In addition to donating several of her own dresses, Boehm has offered to collect, package and mail any donations in town.

She will send her first load this Friday, and asks that all gowns are cleaned and ready to wear. They should be dropped off at the U-Haul shop at 10011 Glacier Highway. For more information, call Boehm at 957-1257.

To donate clean formal wear and accessories directly to the ASYMCA offices, send clothing to 1047 Nysteen Road, No. 4, Fort Wainwright. Call 907-353-5962 for more information. All donations are tax-deductible.

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