Monday, March 31, 2008

Bend woman visits war zone to cheer troops 

Posted by Sasha at 11:04 PM ET

Sweethearts for Soldiers' were all smiles during visit to Iraq, Kuwait, cheering troops and passing out pin-up calendars

By Victoria Adelus
March 26, 2008

Twelve current and former NFL cheerleaders are on a mission to show the troops overseas they're not forgotten.

"Our director said a World War II pin-up calendar would be a great idea," said Brianne Beaty of Bend, part of the Sweethearts for Soldiers group.

Five of the women, including Beaty, were able to travel to Kuwait and Iraq to hand-deliver their calendars and care packages.

"We are living in our comfort zone in America," Beaty said Wednesday after returing from the trip. "I was excited to stand in the war zone and shake the hands of the men and women serving our country."

As soon as they stepped foot on Iraqi soil, it was all about the troops.

"Meeting the men and women was so emotional," she said. "We were greeted with cheers and hugs. They would rip the patches off of their uniforms to hand to us in gratitude."

But the girls didn't just bring calendars for the men. They also wanted the servicewomen to feel appreciated, too.

"We put together care packages specifically for the women that consisted of lip gloss, facial cleanser - other necessities that women would appreciate," Beaty said.

The material items were greatly appreciated, but Beaty also brought something worth a little more.

Beaty is a country music singer, and she brought her songs to the troops.

She says she even met a soldier from Bend, who says he was thankful to see a familiar face from home.

The cheerleaders support was very well received, Beaty says, and they seemed boost the spirits of everyone they met.

And the feeling was mutual: Beaty says meeting the troops inspired all of the cheerleaders.

"Two of the other women that we traveled with were so moved by the trip that they are strongly considering enlisting as reservists, one as an Army nurse,"said Beaty.

It was a week-long trip that Beaty will never forget, and she says it seemed to make a big difference for each soldier they met.

Beaty says a base she was on in Baghdad was struck twice by mortars, but no one was hurt.

Now that the Sweethearts are back home they will soon send more care packages to iraq. If you would like to donate you can find a link to their group in News Links at KTVZ.COM.

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