When five Texas women decide they’re going to do something, you can either get on board or get out of the way. After reading fellow Texan Marcus Luttrell’s best selling book “Lone Survivor,” they all agreed on one thing: it was time to give back to those who afford us all the freedoms of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Since its inception in 2009, the Boot Campaign blazed a trail in the nonprofit world, giving more than $2 million annually to help service members, veterans and their families from every generation. The Boot Girls couldn’t be more proud.
Some of the most supportive and compassionate people in the US come from military families. Ginger is no exception. She was born into military at Wilford Hall Hospital on Lackland AFB in San Antonio, TX. After spending 13 years in San Antonio, Ginger and her family moved to the North Country, Oklahoma City, OK, that is. She graduated from Oklahoma State University with a Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy. It was there she met friend and fellow Boot Girl Sherri.
Her work as an Occupational Therapist, and as a pharmaceutical rep, brought her first-hand experience of what it takes for wounded to recover and provided a thorough understanding that our wounded military needed help.
Ginger resides in the Dallas area with her family of the furry, canine kind. It is no surprise, given her personal and professional experiences that Ginger would become a founding member and contributor to the start-up operations of the Boot Campaign.
The words “too busy” are not in Boot Girl Heather’s vocabulary. By most standards people would run for their slippers and a couch at first-glance of her calendar! she is on-the-go at every turn in life and she doesn’t even drink coffee! Little wonder she left the corporate world of Public Relations, mostly out of the need to become free of panty hose and the office cubicle. Who could blame her after spending most of her life on a soccer field? Containing her energy, passion for life and serving others would be a terrible waste given she’s coached countless individuals to a healthy lifestyle as a personal trainer.
Heather was born in McAllen, TX and progressively migrated in a triangular fashion across the southern part of the state. A graduate of Texas A&M with a degree in Communications, Heather turned her love of fitness into a full-time job. Her fitness regime and management of Prescription Fitness in Houston even caught the attention of People Magazine. Heather joined forces with friend and fellow Boot Girl Leigh Ann to start an event planning business in the Houston area when it became evident she still didn’t understand the meaning of the word “busy”. This merger laid the foundation for her involvement in the start-up of the Boot Campaign.
Party Girl, no wait, um, Boot Girl Leigh Ann comes from serious Texas roots being a third generation Fort Worth native. As a girl her favorite activities included being a competitive swimmer and attending the famed Camp Longhorn. She admits to loving school as a kid, which led her to pursue Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Education from the University of Texas.
Leigh Ann is also no stranger to “officer” duties. Since her officer debut in the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority she’s maintained a long-standing leadership career with involvement in the Junior League of Houston, PTA President at her girls’ school and regarded as a top 300 fundraiser for the MS 150 Bike Tour and the National Charity League which promotes mother-daughter volunteer work and leadership training.
Because she likes a good party, don’t be shocked she and fellow party-friend and Boot Girl Heather formed their own event planning business in Houston. Leigh Ann’s ability to organize, lead people, raise funds and bring awareness to various causes strongly suited her for the formation of the Boot Campaign. And although the Boot Campaign has a serious mission, Leigh Ann is ready to put her boots on to make a party of any event.
For Mariae’s family, escaping the communist regime of the Viet Cong in 1975 was the epitome of Living the American Dream. Penniless, her parents arrived in the US and her dad, as a civilian, served our Armed Forces at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, MS as a cafeteria janitor. With 10 children at home, her mom worked in various shrimp factories on the Gulf Coast just to make ends meet. They were certain, with hard work and the freedom to follow their dreams, without fear of reprisal, the US would offer a much better life for their family.
Born in Nashville, Arkansas and raised in Biloxi, MS, Mariae, number 10 in the sibling order, became the valedictorian of her high school. She received a scholarship offer to Berkley for their Biochemistry Program but turned it down to attend a private film school in Los Angeles called Chapman University. Upon graduating, she received the coveted Einstein Award, for most outstanding film student in her graduating class. She worked as a web/graphics designer in the dotcom world for a while until it became clear she needed to follow her own American dream and open her own business. Together with her sister, Mariae opened Pink Posh Photographers.
Her family history, her love of freedom and her passion in capturing the essence of who people are through the lens of a camera were a natural fit in the formation of the Boot Campaign.
If you had told Sherri years ago she would one day oversee a national charity organization with a multi-million dollar budget helping military families, she would never have believed you. Though it wasn’t on her list of things to accomplish in life, it’s quickly found a forever place in her heart and continues to thrill and challenge her every day.
Born in Oklahoma and raised in multiple states, Sherri is a wife, mother of two, a graduate of Oklahoma State University and Baylor College of Dentistry and the owner of a thriving orthodontic practice in the East Texas area. Her love of music combined with her passion to travel and take on new challenges perfectly suited Sherri for the launch of the Boot Campaign in September 2009. Along with 4 other friends, one of whom she met while attending OSU, they formed the Boot Campaign with little more than some borrowed combat boots and a snappy photographer in Boot Girl Mariae. Sherri is incredibly proud of how far this small venture has come and loves most the many ways Boot Campaign has touched the lives of civilians and veterans around the world.