GROTON, Conn. – Some 40 expectant military wives and new moms had the opportunity to experience what many moms-to-be may take for granted: a baby shower, during a special event at the Historic Ship Nautilus and Submarine Force Museum, June 23.
Operation Shower in partnership with the Professional Golf Association (PGA) Tour’s Travelers Championship celebrated Navy families at Naval Submarine Base New London (SUBASE) through a unique baby shower this year. The traditional, annual tournament week event shifted from the usual site at the Tournament Players Club (TPC) River Highlands in Cromwell to the Museum adjacent to the base as a COVID-19 pandemic mitigation measure. Moreover, the baby shower, presented by ConnectiCare and supported by the tournament, Travelers, and the PGA’s “Birdies for the Brave” initiative, was a Drive-Thru.
“Due to COVID-19 we’ve done a couple of virtual baby showers on Zoom, but this is our first in-person event since the pandemic,” said Amy Belle Isle, Operation Shower’s chief creative officer, as she cheered a mom from a distance at the event.
From the planning outset, the Operation Shower team and supporting organizations accepted the realities of the current COVID-19 environment and the necessary mitigation measures that would be needed to protect sponsors, participants, and military families. The “Baby on Board,” Drive-Thru theme highlighted the collective, creative “can-do, ” of Operation Shower and various SUBASE commands and activities to develop and deliver a safe, physically distanced, fun, and engaging event.
“The willingness and enthusiasm to pivot this event this year says so much about everyone and about how much this partnership is like no other,” said Belle Isle. “We feel so fortunate and so honored to help bring joy to military moms and families.”
The military moms and families celebrated have spouses who are deployed, deploying, or recently deployed; and many are first-time moms who are stationed far from family and friends. Operation Shower provided a celebration that may not be enjoyed otherwise and topped it off with each of the moms receiving Operation Shower’s signature “Shower-In-A-Box”: a gift of high-quality products for mothers and babies generously donated by local and national vendors.
“This shows how strong and appreciated the military community is,” said Lindsay Harshman, whose husband is getting ready to deploy on USS North Dakota. “It will be scary going through this with him being gone, but I know that there will be a lot of resources and support I can rely on for anything.”
The moms, like Harshman, were able to remain in their vehicles and drive through a series of cheering and celebration stations arrayed within the Museum parking lot. The Drive-Thru concluded with an Operation Shower and sponsor thank-you to the moms for their service and sacrifice alongside their spouses, and loading their vehicles with gifts.
“To be able to do this drive-thru today really meant everything… Just to actually see the moms in person and to say thank you was amazing,” concluded Belle Isle. “We will never forget this year and know the moms won't either.”
Operation Shower, the Travelers Championship, and SUBASE have been coordinating these showers for more than 10 years.
“Some SUBASE Good News” (SSGN) is an effort to provide uplifting stories about the personnel, programs, and initiatives that help make Naval Submarine Base New London, “The First and Finest.”