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Girls Night Out: DFMWR event helps ladies de-stress

Gloria Edwards, Mechelle Smith and Vickkii Johnson, civilians, get ready to take on the photo booth during DFMWR’s Girls Night Out at The Landing Sept. 5. (Photo by Nathan Pfau)

Gloria Edwards, Mechelle Smith and Vickkii Johnson, civilians, get ready to take on the photo booth during DFMWR’s Girls Night Out at The Landing Sept. 5. (Photo by Nathan Pfau)

Published: September 12, 2014

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (September 12, 2014) -- A night of fun filled with laughter, dancing, prizes, giveaways and even a fashion show is what nearly 300 women from the surrounding communities were able to experience during Fort Rucker’s eighth Girls Night Out.

The Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation hosted the event, which is a night dedicated to ladies that gave access to nearly 40 vendors at which they could shop, learn about the latest fashion and even win one of more than 100 prizes, according to Brian Jackson, DFMWR program manager.

“We had a great turnout of ladies that really seemed to enjoy the program,” he said. “Girls Night Out is one of the most highly attended programs offered at The Landing throughout the year, and this year’s turnout was just as good, if not better (than previous years).”

Shanna Draper, civilian, was one of many who said the night was just what she needed.

“I absolutely love when Fort Rucker hosts these nights because it’s a great way for me to get out with my friends, enjoy a little bit of shopping and dancing, and get some free stuff while we’re doing it – there’s not too many places you can really do that,” she said. “It’s just a great way to be able to wind down from a normal day and be able to do something a little different.”

Draper, an Enterprise native, said that perusing the vendors was here favorite activity for the night.

“Who knew we had so much in this area?” she asked. “This was a great way for me to learn about all of the local businesses that offer so much around here. I’ve lived here for a long time and I didn’t even know a lot of these existed.”

Pamela Thomas, Army spouse, said the night was a perfect opportunity for her to be able to escape from the stresses of everyday life.

“I’m a mother of three and that takes a lot of work, so it’s nice to be able to tell my husband that he’s watching the children, though I love them to death, while I get some time with my friends,” she said. “I love being a mother and I wouldn’t ask to do anything else in the world, but sometimes you just need to be able to let loose and have some fun, and this night was a perfect way to do that for me and my friends.”

A host of local businesses and organizations donated different prizes, such as gift certificates and gift baskets that were given out throughout the night, and on top of the vendor prizes, 100 purses were given out throughout the night, along with a grand prize of a two-night, three-day getaway to Panama City Beach, Florida, as well as tickets to Bayfest, said Jackson.

Girls Night Out started in 2011 and a lot of planning goes into to putting the night together, he said.

“Leigh Ann Dukes, (DFMWR sponsorship and advertising manager), puts a lot of work into this program,” said Jackson. “She reaches out to businesses in the Wiregrass that she feels would benefit our ladies of Fort Rucker and surrounding communities.

“She also brainstorms with our event coordinator and marketing director to get new ideas to make this event better with each year,” he continued. “We always have new prizes to give out, and the (food and beverages) provided by The Landing are top notch.”

The night is not just to promote local businesses, but also serves as a way to boost morale and give ladies a chance to “let their hair down,” said the program manager.

“Tonight was exactly what I needed, and I’m so happy that Fort Rucker holds these kind of events,” said Draper. “I can’t wait until it comes around again – I’ll be marking my calendar for sure.”

The next Girls’ Night Out will be held in March.

This article was originally published at

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