Sarah B. Sweet, leader and co-founder of Dames For Soldiers, from an early age knew the importance of the military and giving back. As a child, she was one of the youngest active members on her town's Memorial Day Parade Committee. She lined the parade route with American flags and organized the line of march. Her parents, while not servicemembers, would share stories of family who served and instilled honor, respect, humility, and dedication to those who served, and their families, and why they need to be remembered. Sarah is also the proud aunt to six Coastie kids and has seen the resilience her nieces and nephews have.
As the Leader of the Dames, it also means she is a liaison between the civilian and military world. Sarah has been able to raise awareness of the causes the Dames For Soldiers' support and through building trust, having conversations, and sharing the important role we each play, she has been able to bring groups together to support our servicemembers and their families.
For Sarah, Dames For Soldiers is not about dressing up as a pinup and getting photos taken. Being the a part of this groups is about the ability to bring women of all ages, shapes, ages and backgrounds together in order to support servicemembers and their families, past, present and future. "What we do as a group, isn't for the glory, recognition or photo ops. And I know each Dame knows this. We volunteer because we support our troops, we believe in what they are doing, we love our country and we want to show our respect and honor for their hard work. That's what being a Dame For Soldiers is all about."
Dharma Duval, co-founder of Dames for Soldiers, got her start in the pinup world in late 2012 when she was accepted into the group Pinups for Patriots CT. She was an active volunteer for their numerous military veteran benefit events until the group unfortunately disbanded. She participated in events such as 'Adopt a Soldier', 'Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans', 'Military Vehicle Preservation' shows, and more.
Wanting to stay active in her community via the pinup world, Dharma applied and was selected into the first ever Bombshells for Boobies pinup group recruitment. The Bombshells proudly raised thousands of dollars in their first to benefit the Dana Farber Cancer Center. More importantly, they brought significant attention to breast cancer awareness and early detection.
Dharma's real love is supporting veterans' causes. So, she and fellow pinup Sarah B. Sweet, met one summer afternoon over beer at America's oldest tap house, The Village, and devised the plan that would develop into what is now known as 'Dames for Soldiers'. Their little group of 9 Dames can be spotted all over CT, from car shows and baseball games to local theater and military monuments.
Honey Guns is an anomaly of a gal. At first glance she appears to lead a normal adult life, working a full-time job as the Director of Operations, the job she calls "wallet food."
But when the work day is over, she heads off to her second job, the one she calls "soul food", as a pole fitness instructor. A dancer since birth, she loves being able to share the gift of dance with her students.
Any remnants of her time are dedicated to being the facilitator for the local
chapter of a national all-female gun club. If the weather is right, she can be found driving around in her precious Pumpkin, a 1972 Corvette whose Ontario Orange paint largely resembles that of the aforementioned gourd.
As a patriot and an avid shooter, with many friends who have served in the military, Honey Guns has always had a deep appreciation for our military. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Dames For Soldiers and be able to give back to those who have given so much.
Frankie B. has been a lifelong volunteer working with organizations such as the Multiple Sclerosis Society, as well as, assisting and supporting a variety of charities that are near and dear to her friends and family.
When Frankie was recruited by Sarah B. Sweet, she had no idea what she was in for. Frankie has always believed in supporting our military but being a Dame has given her a new appreciation for our servicemembers and veterans in particular. She looks forward to events and
the unique conversations and people each one has to offer. “It is always humbling when a veteran or his/her family comes up to you and says thank you for being at an event or taking a picture with someone. Sometimes it is something so simple such as a photo or just giving a helping hand to make someone’s day, and honestly it’s the least I can do.” When she is not volunteering, Frankie is usually cooking (she makes a mean lasagna!), spending time with her two pups - Bella and Penny, or knitting up something for a friend or an order for her business Avocado Knits.
Emma Darling bleeds red white and blue! Coming from a multi generational military family, she was brought up with a sense of duty, honor, and commitment. In addition a hunger to give back and support service members and their families drew her to the Dames for Soldiers!
When Emma is not donning her pearls and pouty red lips you can find her dispatching. She is as
cute enough to stop a heart, skilled enough to restart it with her background in EMS and firefighting. But It’s not all blood guts and glory with Darling she also enjoys hiking, interior design, and time spent with family and friends! “My greatest wish is to express the upmost gratitude for the men and women have and are currently serving this great country. To thank every individual for their sacrifices. And to only reflect the heart of someone who truly is humbled that someone of whom I’ll never meet chose to fight for my safety and the future well being of others.”
Veronika is from a military family and knows what it is like to lose a servicemember. Her father and uncles served in World War II and unfortunately two of her uncles did not return home. Another military connection Veronika has is that her brothers also served in the military – two in the Army and one in the Navy.
Her family connection to the military drives her passion as a Dame. “Being a Dames means the world to me. To see the smiling faces of our treasured veterans, makes it
worth every minute. Our commitment to honor our past, present, and future veterans as well as those who paid the ultimate price to keep us safe and free, has touched me deeply. Being a Dame puts the words ‘Thank you for your service’ into action for me.”
When Veronika isn’t volunteering as a Dame she enjoys riding her bike, target shooting, and honing her skills with her smoker/BBQ grill. She is also a dog Mom to four fur babies – Willie, Fiona, Sophia, and Dude.
Photographer: Corey Lynn Tucker Photography
Hair: Salon Tres Chic - Claudia Marques & Colleen Rousseau
Makeup: K.GLO Beauty - Krista Maturo & Bad Gal Beauty - Avi Bacchiocchi