Thursday, December 20, 2012

1st Annual Surviving Families Holiday Party

 Amanda Bradley

I will say that many of my appearances, events or gatherings are as Shana, Got Your Back Board Member not as Shana, Mrs. California International.  This is not because I am not proud of or don’t love my title, its based on the appropriateness for each event.  Many of our surviving family events are about THEM, about their journey and their experiences with our organization and eachother... If I feel that wearing my crown/sash would overshadow that experience I choose not to wear it however I always bring it for the bling and our little girls.  This was the case with Wreaths Across America and our holiday party.  Many of the little girls met me at the Snowball send off so they remembered the Princess, so out came the crown and sash for their rhinestoned enjoyment... then the adults got in on the action. 

I LOVE the holidays and all they represent.  Giving to others, helping others in need and family.... it’s such a magical time of year.  This year was our First Annual Got Your Back Network Holiday party... what a WONDERFUL evening.  We had 18 families of our fallen heroes join us at the Pacific View Events Center on Camp Pendleton for food, fun and a visit from Mrs. Claus and her special Elf... Santa was VERY busy at the North Pole helping get toys ready for Christmas so he sent his wife, the next best thing (she talks to Santa you know).  I was able to meet several new families at this event, getting to know them and their children was very special.  It was also a great time for families to meet each other and start to form new bonds there as well.    
When each child met with Mrs. Claus, they were provided with a perfect gift just for them – I am thankful to our many donors this year for their help in providing this magical evening.  Thank you to the San Juan Capistrano Women’s Auxiliary for providing toys, our special Got Your Back Volunteer Susan Bien and her wonderful husband for obtaining donations, Leif Manson the Elf for providing the answers to life’s many questions such as why not ALL elves have pointy ears (Thank you Avery for your questions), and Mrs. Claus for her story and time with each child.

Until next year! 


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