Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sweethearts Tour- Kimberly's Experience 

Posted by James at 9:30 AM ET

From September 13 – 23 Kimberly Newbern and Cheryl O’Brien made their first appearance as members of the Sweethearts for Soldiers traveling over seas to entertain our military. Both Kimberly and Cheryl are former ROAR of the Jacksonville Jaguars and members of the Professional Cheerleaders Alumni. Five “Sweethearts”, all former NFL Cheerleaders, put together an exciting show. Although they came from different parts of the US they learned their routines off of a DVD they sent each containing the routines they would perform. Kimberly describes her experience below:

I recently had the amazing opportunity to travel to the Middle East with the Sweethearts for Soldiers and perform for our troops! Getting ready was very different! I have traveled over seas before with the ROAR of the Jaguars to Thule, Greenland. However, knowing our country was in the middle of a war and actually traveling into the war zone put a whole new spin on the experience. I was so honored to be able to show our troops how much I appreciate the huge sacrifice they make for our freedom.

Sweethearts Tour
Kimberly at the airport

Sweethearts Tour
Briefing with the Sweethearts

After being chosen with four other NFL alumni cheerleaders the work started! We were required to learn all of the material for the show off of a DVD and notes! Luckily Cheryl (O’Brien) was also going, so we had each other to practice with and really have fun putting the show together! When we arrived in the Detroit airport on September 13th we were so excited to meet the other girls and finally have a chance to practice together. We got right to it and as you can imagine, we had an audience in the airport. ;) We changed some of the material and worked very quickly to get the show ready within the two hours we had available for the show the following day. Being the longest I’ve personally ever been on an airplane and my first time switching time zones with an 8 hour difference, I was completely drained for about two days. On the third day I started to feel like a normal person again with a regular sleep schedule!

Sweethearts Tour
Kimberly and Cheryl relaxing with the troops

Sweethearts Tour

Sweethearts Tour

All of the shows were so energizing! The troops were very supportive and were actually thanking us for taking the time to come visit them and perform. It was a very humbling experience and I can hardly put into words the true gratitude every man and woman showed. During our show, (one of the Sweethearts) Bri sang the song, “God Bless the USA.” During every show soldiers stood up and sang the words with tears in their eyes. In return this caused us to cry and the song was given a whole new meaning. I saw the faces of our troops, the men and women we always hear about who serve our country and risk their life for what our nation stands for. It was a harsh reality that some of the men and women standing in front of us had lost their friends during this war. They showed so much courage knowing their lives were still in danger as well. I will never listen to that song again with the same outlook. I have a completely different viewpoint and appreciation not only for my life, but also being blessed to be an American.

This tour was a life changing experience that opened my eyes to many things I had previously over looked and taken for granted. I developed friendships with the soldiers and the other cheerleaders that I will always cherish. I am privileged to be part of an organization like Sweethearts for Soldiers, which bring so much positive light to our military in a world of constant criticism.

God Bless,
Kimberly Newbern

[Sweethearts for Soldiers]

[Professional Cheerleaders Alumni]

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