To all of my friends, family, supporters, and fellow Marines,
Words can’t even describe the feelings I have after attending the Marine Corps Ball in Richmond this past weekend.
I am so thankful to Justin Timberlake for accompanying me to the Ball and for his incredible post describing the events of the night. The experience he had is more than I could have ever hoped for, and I am truly humbled by the appreciation and respect that he has shown for the Marine Corps.
The excitement for the Ball really set in once some of my best friends Charlsie Hoffman, Cody Tallent, Colton Smith, Megan Boyle (a.k.a. my Manager), Taylor Hood (my awesome hairstylist), Tyler Hood, and I started getting ready in the hotel. Just as thousands of other Marine Corps members, spouses, families, and friends do across the country every year to celebrate the Marine Corps Birthday, we put on our dress blues, tuxes, and gowns for the night ahead.
After a few hours of prepping I said goodbye to the crew and nervously headed out of the hotel to meet Justin. Right off the bat I was greeted with a huge smile. Any uneasiness I had immediately went away as I realized what humble, good people Justin and those surrounding him are. Justin and I got a chance to talk about my Marine Corps experience, MMA career, and plans for the future as I get out of the Marine Corps at the end of the month.
When Justin and I arrived at the Convention Center, we spent some time at a cocktail reception before heading into the ballroom. As the first ones in there we were able to sit and talk; and once the crowd began streaming in several people came up to meet J.T. and I, shake hands, and take some pictures – and he did it all without hesitation and with a huge smile on his face. At the same time, I couldn’t wait for my close friends to get there, and as I assured him several times, Table 10 would have it goin’ on!
Once everyone was in the ballroom, the official ceremonies began. Within moments the room became silent as we watched images and heard stories of Marines in World War II and September 11th during the Marine Corps Birthday Message. A presence, a tradition, and a sense community came over the room that set the tone for the night. I can’t even begin to express the emotions this footage aroused in every person in attendance, but I’m so thankful and blessed that I was able to share this experience with people so dedicated to what they do and who are so true to their values—these are the people who I consider to be heroes.
As the official ceremonies ended, Table 10 got the party started, shared some jokes, gathered for a group dance floor session, and enjoyed the night to the fullest. There was never a dull moment! And I have to say Justin fit right in.
As the night came to a close, we all walked out with Justin and said our goodbyes… but he didn’t get to leave the Ball without first receiving a bayonet engraved with ‘Justin “come tussle” Timberlake’.
I really want to thank everyone for all of their kind words, assistance, and support in getting ready for the Ball. It couldn’t have gone any better! Hope you enjoy the pictures.
Getting my makeup done by Aimee Susan Lupino
Some of the crew!
Enjoying the ceremonies
J.T. and I
Taylor, me, Charlsie, and Meg. My girls!
Justin and the boys
Thank you Elizabeth St. John for creating a gorgeous dress for me!