Getting Personally Styled for The Capital Emmy Awards by The Salvation Army...

Jun 23, 2023

Getting Personally Styled for The Capital Emmy Awards by The Salvation Army of Howard County’s Thrift Store

 It was Mid-May 2023, specifically, Food Truck Day, where I live, and I was wolfing down a freshly wrapped gyro. I was glued to my phone since the Capital Emmy announcements were livestreamed. After a good 35 minutes of watching nominations, I was starting to lose hope that our documentary, “Hope is on the Way” would snag a nomination. The wait was gnawing at me.

Our Videographer Patrick O’Neal and I spent an entire year crafting this documentary. We scouted for noteworthy interviews, made several edits, and sewn together stories that exemplified how The Salvation Army of Central Maryland changes lives. Each story segmented in “Hope is on the Way” had a rich backstory of hours of overtime, creative frustrations, and genius moments solidified.  

Often, when you ask someone what The Salvation Army of Central Maryland does, the question is answered in one of two ways:

1.) Ring Bells around Christmas time

2.)  Help people?

Patrick and I wanted to create a documentary that not only answered what The Salvation Army does in Baltimore but also share how The Army changes lives forever. Yes, the 35 minutes were an aggravating wait but for good reason.

After most of the nominations were announced, one of the Emmy announcers faces lit up when she read:

Category #50B

Religion-Long Form Content (Longer Than 10 Minutes)

“Hope is on the Way”
Patrick O’Neal, Producer
Sherryn Gaworecki, Producer

I couldn’t stop jumping up and down, causing a scene, yes, but elated with joy. After the adrenaline surge ended, my first thought was:


I needed to wear something that was “Black-Tie-Optional” but I didn’t have a dress, shoes, or jewelry for this special occasion. I also knew that it would take me forever to decide on an outfit and I wanted something glamorous, at a discount, without stressing about it.

The Salvation Army of Central Maryland has a best kept secret that most people don’t know about. The Salvation Army of Howard County (located on 3267 Pine Orchard Lane, Ellicott City, MD), managed by our Director Sue Hunt, has high-end gowns, designer shoes, and glamorous jewelry for a fraction of the cost. Not only that, but our volunteers, above the age of 65 years old, can easily serve as your personal stylist. Each volunteer has years of experience with fashion, styling, and a good dose of common sense too.

The following week, I took the afternoon off and visited the thrift store. I was warmly greeted by 10 volunteers, who hand-selected each gown and dress to try on. I was switching between a Ralph Lauren Dress and a couture gown, but neither fit me. These tiny hurdles didn’t stop Barb, Ruth, or Sue from scouting the thrift store for the perfect dress that matched my shade, stature, and physique.

And after trying on 10 dresses, and after getting helpful feedback from the HoCo Thrift Style Crew, I found the perfect dress. It was medium sized, stretchy, and golden like an Emmy.  The dress felt like a soft, velvety glove.

All I needed were golden shoes that were 6.5. Whenever I shop for shoes, I often have a hard time finding the right pair. Many times, they are either too tight or too loose, or have a pinched feeling on the sides. Ruth found the perfect pair of gold shoes with a light animal print design. I was surprised that this pair fit. And they were easy to walk around.

Barb joked, “I am glad you found your outfit. I may not know much about style but I know how to assign the best volunteer to help you with your styling needs.”

Barb has been a volunteer for the thrift store for many years, and she knew which volunteer was great with makeup, or who used to be a buyer. She assigned different volunteers to scout and select different items I will be sporting for Emmy night. Sue, who used to be a buyer, brought in a wide array of gold jewelry and gold purses for me to try on.

I trusted the HoCo Thrift Style Crew to pick the best purse, earrings, and bangles. The crew decided on a solid-colored vintage gold purse, eclectic bangles, and eye drop gold earrings. Every piece of my Emmy ensemble was hand-selected by the HoCo Thrift Style Crew.

I purchased this entire ensemble for less than $40.00. I knew that if I purchased this entire outfit online, at the mall, or at a designer store I would’ve spent over $200+ dollars.  At the Salvation Army’s Howard County Thrift store, my shoes were less than $7.00 and my dress was only $15.00.

I am eternally indebted to the HoCo Thrift Style Crew for their time, stylish knowledge, and kindness that was poured into each piece. I plan to wear this glamorous ensemble on June 24, 2023 at the Bethesda Marriot Hotel and Convention Center.

What’s going to happen June 24th?

Tune into for a live stream of the 65th Annual Capital Emmy’s show at 5:00 p.m to see if The Salvation Army will win a Emmy this year. Wish us luck!



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