Operation: Wedding Gown thanks those who serve – The Times of Northwest Indiana

5 minutes, 14 seconds Read

HIGHLAND — Happy tears flowed freely at Elegance Wedding & Evening Wear Wednesday morning.

Two brides-to-be, Marlena Auberry and Jennifer Ramos, both said yes to the dress after each tried on some half dozen gowns.

Tears and hugs from friends and family followed and confetti was released into the air from a party popper.

“Are you saying yes to the dress, girl?” Elegance bridal stylist Zayre Mijares asked Ramos who smiled and shook her head yes.

Karla Perez, a friend of Ramos, said she knew when the bride-to-be tried on the off-the-shoulder, A-line gown that it was “the” dress.

“It made us all cry. That’s how we all knew it was the one,” Perez said.

People are also reading…

Ramos, along with her family and friends, came to the Highland bridal shop from the Dyer area while Auberry and her all female posse left Indianapolis that morning to take advantage of the Brides Across America giveaway program.

“It’s a great organization,” Auberry said.

Charlott Sitarski, owner of Elegance Wedding & Evening Wear, said her shop has been partnering with Brides Across America since 2012.

Some 300 gowns have been given by her Highland shop since 2012 with no program held in 2020 due to COVID-19, Sitarski said.

Under the shop’s “Operation Wedding Gown” program held each year, usually around Veteran’s Day, designer dresses valued up to $5,000 are given free of charge as a special thanks to those who serve.

Under the national nonprofit program founded by Heidi Janson, wedding gowns are given away as a special thank you to military men and women or first responders.

“I look forward to this every year and being able to tell them thank you in person,” Sitarski said.

Auberry’s younger sister, Deirdre Auberry, also became emotional when her sister finally decided on the traditional, lace covered gown she will wear next autumn.

Deirdre will serve as her sister’s maid of honor.

“Being her sister I really felt the moment,” Deirdre Auberry said.

Marlena Auberry, 28, said she and her fiance, Jason Collins, plan to wed Oct. 18 at Whipporwill Hill, an old barn venue located outside of Bloomington.

Auberry, who works at the Community Health Network’s security department, said she qualifies for Brides Across America because she is a police officer.

She and her fiance, who works as a logistics coordinator, met online.

“We met online on Tinder, eventually talking over the phone for two hours before meeting in person. It clicked,” Auberry said.

Jennifer Ramos, a 33-year-old Spanish language teacher at T.F. North High School, met her fiance, Alberto Galvan, at school.

“He was a baseball coach at the high school,” Ramos said.

She qualifies for the program because her fiance is in the U.S. Army Special Forces and is in the process of qualifying to become a Green Beret.

True believers in Jesus don’t need a “secondary plan” for salvation and eternal life. They need to follow the actions of Jesus Christ, according to Pastor Greg Lee of Suncrest Christian Church in St. John. “Followers of Jesus – church people – tend to forget that following Jesus is the way to get to heaven. But they’ve somehow constructed a different way in their mind by beating people into it, or convincing people about it, or telling people they’re wrong,” Lee says. On this week’s show, Lee joins us in the studio to examine the gospel about Jesus Christ and why too many Christians don’t act Christ-like in their daily lives. “If you look at who Jesus had his harshest words for, it was for religious people who were harsh to people who were on the margins,” Lee tells Jerry, who’s been on the margins of spirituality for decades. We hope you join us for a candid conversation – not a sermon – about faith, redemption, conviction and forgiveness. Also, how to demonstrate grace and mercy with a species that instinctively seeks justice. About the show “She Said, He Said” with co-hosts Jerry Davich and Karen Davich unpacks all the baggage about relationships, couples and issues between the sexes (and the ex’s). “Because there’s a lot to unpack,” Karen says. The dangers of online dating. The fun of flirting. Blended families. Difficult in-laws. Connecting after arguments. First kisses and final divorces. You name it, they’ll unpack it on “She Said, He Said.” All episodes are now available for viewing at NWI.com or to listen on your favorite platforms such as Apple, Spotify, Google and Audacy. Subscribe to not miss any new episodes. The couple’s podcast is sponsored by Times Media Co. and Lee Enterprises. It’s recorded each week at CreataSpacePlace studios in Hobart, Indiana, with local guests in the studio and timeless topics on the table.

All of their wedding plans haven’t been firmed up because of his service duties, but the nuptials will likely be held around Memorial Day, Ramos said.

On the day of the event, registered brides must bring proof of service and an ID upon check-in, according to the website.

For more information on how to qualify, to locate a salon near you or to register for an event, go to bridesacrossamerica.com 

#lee-rev-content { margin:0 -5px; }
#lee-rev-content h3 {
font-family: inherit!important;
font-weight: 700!important;
border-left: 8px solid var(–lee-blox-link-color);
text-indent: 7px;
font-size: 24px!important;
line-height: 24px;
#lee-rev-content .rc-provider {
font-family: inherit!important;
#lee-rev-content h4 {
line-height: 24px!important;
font-family: “serif-ds”,Times,”Times New Roman”,serif!important;
margin-top: 10px!important;
@media (max-width: 991px) {
#lee-rev-content h3 {
font-size: 18px!important;
line-height: 18px;

#pu-email-form-breaking-email-article {
clear: both;

background-color: #fff;

color: #222;

background-position: bottom;
background-repeat: no-repeat;
padding: 15px 0 20px;
margin-bottom: 40px;
border-top: 4px solid rgba(0,0,0,.8);
border-bottom: 1px solid rgba(0,0,0,.2);

display: none;

#pu-email-form-breaking-email-article p {
font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, “Segoe UI”, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif, “Apple Color Emoji”, “Segoe UI Emoji”, “Segoe UI Symbol”;
#pu-email-form-breaking-email-article h2 {
font-size: 24px;
margin: 15px 0 5px 0;
font-family: “serif-ds”, Times, “Times New Roman”, serif;
#pu-email-form-breaking-email-article .lead {
margin-bottom: 5px;
#pu-email-form-breaking-email-article .email-desc {
font-size: 16px;
line-height: 20px;
margin-bottom: 5px;
opacity: 0.7;
#pu-email-form-breaking-email-article form {
padding: 10px 30px 5px 30px;
#pu-email-form-breaking-email-article .disclaimer {
opacity: 0.5;
margin-bottom: 0;
line-height: 100%;
#pu-email-form-breaking-email-article .disclaimer a {
color: #222;
text-decoration: underline;
#pu-email-form-breaking-email-article .email-hammer {

border-bottom: 3px solid #222;

opacity: .5;
display: inline-block;
padding: 0 10px 5px 10px;
margin-bottom: -5px;
font-size: 16px;
@media (max-width: 991px) {
#pu-email-form-breaking-email-article form {
padding: 10px 0 5px 0;
.grecaptcha-badge { visibility: hidden; }

Similar Posts