EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Lifestyle

November 7, 2013

Brides Across America hosts gown giveaway Thursday

(Continued)

“We want to help as many people as we can,” Janson said.

Last year, Janson was honored at the White House as part of the Joining Forces Community Challenge, which recognizes service and dedication to military families. Janson got to meet First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, who founded the challenge.

“It was a great honor to be there with a lot of other nonprofits that were doing good for the military,” she said.

Brides Across America also has been written about in People magazine and featured on national news shows. Today, the organization helps bridal salons across the country to organize events.

“We welcome any salon that wants to take part in a good thing,” Janson said.

Janson has helped thousands of couples and says that every experience is rewarding. However, a few couples stand out in her mind, even years later.

In 2009, she met a couple that she bonded with right away. Ryan Dwyer had been wounded in combat and his fiance, Joanna Reddy, was preparing to be deployed. The Rochester N.Y.-based couple were struggling to plan a wedding amid Reddy’s training schedule.

Dwyer got in touch with Brides Across America to help find Reddy a wedding gown, but Janson didn’t stop with the dress.

“We got their whole wedding taken care of,” she said.

Reddy received a $5,000 gown for free. Then, Janson reached out to her contacts in the wedding industry and was able to have everything donated to the couple within a matter of weeks. On Sept. 9, 2009, Reddy and Dwyer were married in an intimate ceremony on Plum Island.

“Heidi asked me if this was everything I thought it would be,” Reddy told the Newburyport Daily News at the time. “It is even more than I could have hoped for.”

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