Written by Jay Betsill
The 2014 USO Patriots Salute dinner took place at Dallas Country Club and spotlighted the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders as the evening's featured entertainment.
The DCC completed their 77th USO Tour last December when the 12 cheerleaders who comprise the elite DCC Show Group went overseas during the holiday season to bring a piece of home to the troops. The USO's basic mission involves lifting the spirits of America's soldiers and their families, with the DCC having played an integral role in the organization's success over the years.
The formal event, which is the USO's most important fundraiser of the year, included a silent auction featuring items such as autographed footballs from Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and head coach Jason Garrett. An item of particular interest that was up for bid was an autographed iconic DCC boot.
The DCC began their evening with a meet and greet with the USO officials on hand and guests who included some of the most influential people in North Texas. This gave those in attendance the opportunity to get to know which of the ladies has been on a USO Tour and what the trip entails from their perspective.
The performance got underway with the squad taking the stage to their signature "Thunderstruck" routine with the legendary DCC kick-line. All 10 of the cheerleaders – Jacie, Holly, Emma, Sam, Jennifer A., Jennifer K., Jenna, Kelsey, Ashley N. and Kinzie – individually introduced themselves to the audience of local luminaries before continuing with a jazzy technical dance, a solo and wrapping up with their funk hip-hop routine. The audience was also treated to a video from the DCC USO Tours to give them a small sampling of how the DCC serve as a symbol of America to troops on the other side of the world.
"It was a huge honor for me to be selected to be at this dinner," Jacie said. "It was an even bigger honor to have the USO invite us to perform, so that everyone here tonight gets a taste of what we do on the USO Tours. I have been on two USO Tours and seen the amazing impact that it creates for everyone involved."
The DCC on hand were "coined" by several troops that were in attendance. To be coined (the term used when a member of the military gives someone one of their personalized coins) is a token of their appreciation, giving recognition to a person who has done something of excellence.
Of particular note, Andy Walsh took time at the end of the evening to share the perspective of a military wife on the type of significance that the DCC have had on her during their tours. "We love what you do, what you stand for and how classy the organization is," Walsh told the cheerleaders. "I hope that you continue to do this for many years to come."