“Our job here is nothing else, except to give you a feeling of home; reminding you that America is standing with you, we appreciate you, you’re always kept in our prayers, and all of you are heroes.”
These words have always resided in my heart, but to be able to actually say it aloud on the Armed Forces Entertainment tour to the ones who need to hear it the most meant everything to me. I have seen every risk and every sacrifice our men and women of the armed forces take to be where they are today because I, myself, grew up in a military home. Having to move every three years and watch one parent or the other leave for temporary duty stations and deployments left me a feeling of absence. Looking back, I find myself with a grateful heart because I learned resiliency and to lean not on my own understanding but walk by faith instead. Growing up in this environment created a path of empathy and an understanding of what people in the military go through. It also gave me a huge love for all who serve and fight for our freedom. When I got the news about being selected to go on the AFE tour, you could imagine my excitement and sense of joy that came rushing in.
As a rookie, I felt so blessed and honored to be given this opportunity of a life time and to represent the Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders on tour. Knowing that I was believed in and trusted to do a job well done was a Godsend. I could not wait to shake hands and get to know our heroes and what they do on a day to day basis while deployed. Visiting all the different job duties the military offers was such a learning experience. From chasing a U2 plane in a Camaro helping it land in United Arab Emirates, to touring villages and hiking in Ethiopia; then sitting in the cockpits of fighter jets in Bahrain, this was undeniably a trip I will never forget. They welcomed us with open arms and were so thankful about us being there. The special activities they had planned for us were extraordinary and we had so much fun, but my main highlight was being able to simply thank them in person.
Being overseas made everything surreal as I watched our heroes devote precious time in their element, yet enduring the pain of being away from family and friends. Having the chance to make a difference, seeing them smile, and letting them know we support what they do was an honor. Every person I met on this tour is part of this everlasting memory and has a special place in my heart. I can’t express the amount of genuine love and appreciation I have for all who serve in the military, but I will forever be grateful.