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The Nutcracker — Cornerstone Event

Little eight-year-old Janie twirls on her tippy toes and smiles as she jetés across center stage. Janie’s mom, who was also a ballerina during her younger years, proudly claps as she sees the resemblance of her husband in their daughter’s eyes and smile. If only her daddy could see her dance under those bright lights!

Janie’s father was a part of an elite group of heroes. He received five bronze medals, one of which was awarded after he jumped without hesitation into face-to-face enemy combat to extract a wounded teammate. Sadly, on August 6, 2011, the helicopter that Janie’s father was aboard was shot down by enemy fire.

Janie was only two.

In December of 2015, during the start of the holiday season, Janie wanted to see The Nutcracker ballet. Word of Honor Fund (WoHF) sent this sweet ballerina to the performance with a father figure who knew her dad well. Extremely well. Who better in the brotherhood to mentor Janie than her father’s blood relative? Uncle B, like his older sibling, also extensively trained to become one of our country’s elite special force members. The brothers both earned their tridents and became US Navy SEALs.

On a winter afternoon, Uncle B swept Janie off her toes and off they went to see the Richmond Ballet perform The Nutcracker in Norfolk, Virginia, but not without Uncle B first surprising her with a tutu and dainty ballet accessories graciously furnished by Capezio.

Janie’s mom had told her little one that when she was younger, she used Capezio ballet shoes all the time! Capezio, one of America’s leading manufacturers of girls’ dance apparel, had also enclosed a special letter to Janie encouraging her to dance from her heart to her toes.

After the ballet, Janie and Uncle B enjoyed her favorite ice cream at Sweet Frog where they shared stories of his best friend, his brother, her daddy. That evening, before falling asleep next to her WoHF hat atop her stuffed owl, Janie ended her special day on her tippy toes, grinning with daddy’s bright smile.