After matching servicemembers re-entering the civilian work force with military friendly employers, "Hire a Hero" is stepping outside its box and trying some matchmaking of a different kind.
The troop-support organization has teamed with Dreamworks Television and Mark Burnett Productions to help two deserving military couples have their dream weddings. The gesture is a thank you for their service and commitment to the country, according to the Hire a Hero Web site.
"Providing something like this is just great," said Rob Barr, a Hire a Hero representative. "It's showing support for the troops, and it's kind of giving them hope that there are really people out there that care."
The next step to helping two couples live happily ever after begins at the Hire a Hero Web site. Military couples who plan on marrying later this year can fill out the entry and share the challenges they've faced while trying to plan a wedding with at least one spouse serving their country.
Just the distance during a deployment, for example, can make things nearly impossible, Barr said. Then the occasional tour extension crops up and completely undoes what the couple may have managed to get done.
"Little things like that," he said. "But they're also looking for military spouses that just said, 'OK. You know what? We're going to go to the courthouse, get married and have a wedding later.'"
Once the midnight July 28 entry deadline passes, it's all up to the Hollywood folks to choose the two lucky couples for the big "Wedding Day" program that will air on a major TV network this fall, Barr said, adding that he has no idea what's in store for the couples chosen.
"They're kind of keeping that top secret information," he said. "All I was told was that they're going to get ... to have their dream wedding."
Barr said he thinks Hire a Hero was approached to help find couples because of the group's involvement with helping former "Apprentice" winner Kelly Perdew find applicants to be his assistant.
"To my knowledge, I think they got our information from someone ... who said, 'Hey, use "Hire a Hero" to look for this kind of person,'" he said.
By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service
Hire a Hero is a supporter of America Supports You, a Defense Department program connecting citizens and companies with servicemembers and their families serving at home and abroad.