Salon spruces up Soldiers’ spouses
Sgt. Candice Harrison,
24th Press Camp Headquarters:
Massages. Manicures. Pedicures. Facials. Haircuts, styles and color. Makeup. Pampering from all angles. Manicured hands holding mimosas. Styled hair playing in the wind and glistening in the sun on the outside patio. Groups of smiling and laughing women nibbling on pastries and sipping beverages.
The overall atmosphere was relaxed and happy for these military spouses May 15 at Milan Salon and Day Spa in El Paso, but outside eyes might not have seen a group of wives whose husbands are deployed. Onlookers might not have been aware that the ones providing the services of the day were doing so out of the kindness of their own hearts; not for money.
Upon entering the salon, patrons of the day’s special event were greeted by a welcoming staff dressed in yellow to symbolize their support for the troops and their spouses.
Twenty-eight spouses of deployed Soldiers who are assigned to Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, enjoyed a day of pampering at the spa.
“It was time to give back to the community,” said Luz Marquez, owner of the salon and spa.
A tour of the place revealed a large main room with a long row of hair-styling stations. Another row of chairs was occupied with women getting their hair washed by smiling stylists while they chatted with their guests.
The room that normally holds just a tanning bed was taken over and used as the makeup room. Smiles were visible and giggling voices filled the glass room as the guests of honor gleamed with a newfound radiance.
New to the establishment is a “nail bar,” which seats nail technicians on one side and the clientele on bar stools on the other. The only difference between this bar and one that serves drinks was the bright light, the cheery ambiance and one professional per person.
Located in the back of the building were rooms tucked away to provide privacy to those getting massages and facials.
After a day of pampering, Lisa Story, whose husband is a chaplain assistant assigned to the brigade’s Special Troops Bn. and participating in his first deployment, said she felt great. The mother of two said she was amazed at how a unit would support the spouses like this, and that she had never heard of a family readiness group providing something on this scale.
Story praised Sonia Carbajal, the family readiness support assistant for the battalion, and Tiffany Ingram, the battalion’s FRG adviser, for going out of their way to put the event together.
At noon a ribbon-cutting ceremony marked the opening of the nail bar inside of the salon.
Mark Ropella, a sales account manager with the Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce, presented Marquez with the Star on the Mountain award for supporting the military.
“The military is a very important part of our community,” said Ropella.
Capt. Christopher Cole, the battalion’s rear detachment commander, stopped by to observe the day’s festivities and the pampering the ladies were enjoying.
Staff Sgt. Kelly Mitchell, a signal support systems specialist and the FRG leader for the battalion’s C Company, returned in January from her deployment. Mitchell made a dramatic change by having her once long hair cut into a chin-length bob.
Two of the salon’s yellow-clad employees who volunteered for the day also happened to be Army wives.
Nicole Carroll, whose husband is deployed to Afghanistan with 734th Explosive Ordnance Disposal, is a nail technician at the salon.
“I am happy because everybody looked so happy,” said Carroll.
Olivia Ryno is an assistant at Milan. Her husband is assigned to the 3rd BCT’s 1st Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment, and also deployed.
“Everyone is providing their services for nothing in return,” she said.
Ryno said she was pleased to see the spouses getting treated to this.
“When the husbands are deployed they have to play both parents,” she said.
None of the day’s events would have been possible without the foresight of Terri Balster, a business development manager with DM Dickason Personnel Services. DM Dickason is the Association of the United States Army’s guardian, which is a business that sponsors a unit, to 3rd BCT’s Special Troops Bn. Balster acts as the liaison between the company and the unit.
Balster has been a long-time patron of the salon and saw the need to bring the unit’s spouses and the salon together. Many people dedicated their time to ensure the women of the battalion were treated to a memorable day to thank them for the role they play in the Army community.
Short URL: http://fbmonitor.com/?p=12804