Recently, Yellow Ribbons United (YRU), the nonprofit of former NFL player Derrick Dockery and his wife Emma, celebrated military kids of deployed service members at its fourth annual Winter Wonderland Holiday Extravaganza. Over 150 military children and parents were treated to an evening of fun, games, gifts, and holiday cheer at The Ritz-Carlton in the Washington, DC metro area, as a thank you for their sacrifice and service.
“Winter Wonderland is just one of the many ways Yellow Ribbons United celebrates and honors military families throughout the year,” said Derrick Dockery, co-founder of YRU. “Celebrating the holidays without your loved ones is difficult, and even more so for young kids. It was an honor and a privilege to spend an evening with these families and place the spotlight on military kids and their sacrifice.”
The event brought together sports figures, national brand partners, servicemen and women and non-profit organizations for a family-friendly dinner, cookie decorating station, and well-stocked Toys For Tots room, provided by the U.S. Marine Corps, where children were able to select gifts. It was truly a magical evening, that was, as one young party goer said, “Awesome.”
According to a recent Blue Star Families survey, “Approximately 46 percent of spouses and 47 percent of active service members called time away from families a top concern, with approximately 40 percent of service members reporting more than six months of separation from families within the last 18 months.” YRU’s Winter Wonderland is an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the commitment of the military family as a whole, while providing an evening for military kids and parents to be surrounded by those experiencing the same challenges.
NFL Washington Redskins player Arie Kouandjio also was there to support the Dockerys and the sacrifices military families make on daily basis. Emma Dockery, who leads the day to day efforts of the foundation, created an evening to remember with the help of CACI, The Carson Wentz Foundation IntergrateIT, ADI, C2S Consulting, Old Navy, Ty, Kendra Scott, Toys for Tots and The Jason Beach Foundation.
To learn more about Yellow Ribbons United visit www.yellowribbonsunited.org.