Luke's Wings: Fashion Takes Flight
By: Lanna Britt, Special Report Producer
This past Friday night I was able to attend a fashion fundraiser for Luke's Wings. If you don't know about this great charity, let me tell you about it! Luke's Wings is a non-profit that provides travel services for families of those wounded in the military that are hospitalized at medical and rehabilitation centers. Basically, they raise money to unite soldiers with their families after the service member has been injured.
The event on Friday was the organization's fifth annual fashion fundraiser. Full disclosure: I know nothing about fashion. I put the "casual" in business casual most days at work. However, I am passionate about helping military families. My husband served eight years in the Army and served one of those years in Iraq. While he was in Baghdad he was injured, but thankfully not seriously enough to need to be sent back to the US. If he had been one of those wounded warriors sent home for surgeries and treatment, the thought of him having to recover without loved ones nearby is unsettling to say the least. That is why Luke's Wings is such a simple but brilliant idea.
(Lindsay Kin, Executive Director & Fletcher Gill, Co-Founder)
The night's Emcee turned out to be ABC7 News anchor Scott Thuman who I've known for a few years. He did a great job of balancing humor with the serious topic of wounded veterans.
One of the most memorable parts of the evening was getting to hear from SSG Travis Mills. Mills was on his third tour of duty in Afghanistan when he was critically injured by an IED while on patrol, losing portions of both his legs and arms. He is only the fourth quadruple amputee to survive his injuries from war. Luke's Wings has provided over 20 flights for Travis, his wife Kelsey, their young daughter Chloe and many of their friends and family during the extended recovery process. SSG Mills' positive attitude was evident throughout his remarks. After stumbling a bit trying to stand up and take the microphone, he joked the crowd would think he had a few too many Jack and Cokes. We in the audience laughed and it was refreshing to see his ability to joke about his very serious situation. His gratefulness to Luke's Wings was touching. I could really see how thankful he and Kelsey were to the entire Luke's Wings organization.
They also premiered a trailer for a documentary from the non-profit organization Fotolanthropy about SSG Mills and his recovery process. It's called Travis: A Soldier's Story and it's definitely worth watching.
The main event -- the Fashion Show itself -- was really fun to experience. A number of the models were current and former service members and they all did a fabulous job.
I think two people stole the show, though. One was Guy Whidden a veteran 101st Airborne paratrooper who really strutted down the runway and had a great time doing it.
The other show-stealer was double amputee Jessie Fletcher who completely owned the catwalk. I'm not even kidding. He worked his moves down the aisle like he was Justin Timberlake on a SNL stage. And. The. Crowd. Loved. It. Luke's Wings has provided over 15 flights to his family and fiance.
It was a great night and I was honored to be part of it. Thanks for reading and consider going to LukesWings.org to find out how you can become part of a great organization.
Photo Credit: Moshe Zusman