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Donated gowns lower the cost of military balls for service members

<p>Zsaselle Huerta, who's on active duty, picks out an evening gown for the MP battalion ball next month.</p>

For service members, military balls build community, but they can also be costly.

As a part of the new non-profit Operation Deploy Your Dress, military women shopped donated ball gowns free of charge at Joint Base Lewis-McChord Friday.

"You will get invited to a military ball and only have maybe a week to find a dress, so it is just wonderful that they have this here," said Amanda Walsh, a mother of four whose husband is currently deployed.

"It's free. It’s awesome," she said. "I felt really like kind of like a princess.”

Military special event balls are tradition and build camaraderie, said Zsaselle Huerta, who is on active duty.

"I'm looking for my MP battalion ball, so it’s coming up on the 12th. Our whole company is going, so it’s pretty awesome," said Huerta.

Organizers have collected up to 755 donated dresses since November.

Operation Deploy Your Dress hopes to run the dress operation more frequently to give women more opportunities to find something nice to wear.

“I really appreciate it and can’t thank them enough for having this event and for the future events that I have," said Walsh. 

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