ST. LOUIS - The sacrifices made by military families are endless, but one of the biggest comes when a military wife or active duty member is expecting a child. From the potential of being stationed far away from friends and family, to the possibility of the father not making it home in time for the baby's arrival, these women often miss out on opportunities that others might not have to think twice about.
That's why the Better Halves of the St. Louis Blues teamed up with Country Financial and Operation Shower to throw a baby shower for military women and wives on Tuesday.
Aside from fun games and treats, the mothers-to-be received tons of gifts, including bottle sets, play mats, diapers, clothes and much more. Blues fans also played a role in donating some of the presents, as they dropped off books and pajamas that were picked up by Blues forward Ryan Reaves at Country Financial locations last week.
"It's invaluable to have a lot of these things, especially for the first year," said Elias Corpas of Country Financial. "Especially if you're trying to do it by yourself with one parent at home… it makes a world of difference just to have that type of support."
That's the case for Jackie Molinaro, who is active duty in the Air Force and whose husband is currently deployed.
"My sister flew in to be here with me today, and if this wasn't going on I wouldn't have seen any family," Molinaro said. "I wouldn't have (had) anyone with me until the baby is born… and I had nothing to start out with yet, so this is such a big help."
This is the second year for Shannon Adams of the Blues Better Halves to be involved with Operation Shower, and with a three-week-old newborn, this year's event was more special than ever.
"As a new mom I really get to see the hardships you have, and how tired you may be, and what you're experiencing," Adams said. "It's really emotional to see how excited they are and how emotional they are. They get to come here and feel really special, and we get to make them feel that way. That's the best part."
For moms-to-be like Molinaro, the involvement of the Better Halves makes the shower even more significant.
"(Having) somebody that can relate to us makes it more meaningful," Molinaro said. "They actually care, and they know what's going on. Like all of these amazing gifts… Now I feel like I can actually start a baby room and get everything set up before Daddy comes home. It's just tremendous!"