Cheryl Strawder hatched the idea to give makeovers to women combat veterans while working at a Mac makeup counter at Belk.
Women soldiers would stop by the counter and talk about their desire to feel feminine after serving in the harsh environs of Iraq and Afghanistan.
"I was hearing their stories," Strawder said. "They would get in front of a mirror and start crying."
Strawder and her husband, George Strawder, a retired Air Force major, already ran a nonprofit organization called Oasis of Hope Ministries. That organization was founded to provide counseling and support to church clergy. They expanded it to include the military.
The Strawders are elders at Bible Way Church of Atlas Road, and, through Oasis, they offer free counseling to military members of the church.
Bible Way also has a Support Our Soldiers committee that packs gift boxes for deployed soldiers and organizes an annual Military Appreciation Day luncheon. That committee is organized by Violet Staley and her husband, Terrance Staley, a retired Army colonel.
The beauty makeovers are part of serving the body, mind and soul of military members, Cheryl Strawder said.
"It's the one thing I knew how to do," she said.
-_ Noelle Phillips, staff writer