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home : braidwood journal : braidwood journal May 25, 2016

2/4/2014 3:24:00 PM
Drive underway to help every girl get to prom
KHRISTA MITCHELL, co-assistant manager at Braidwood’s Whitmore Ace Hardware, adds another gorgeous dress to the growing rack of prom dresses being donated there.
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KHRISTA MITCHELL, co-assistant manager at Braidwood’s Whitmore Ace Hardware, adds another gorgeous dress to the growing rack of prom dresses being donated there.
by Tonya Michalec
Staff writer

Ace is the place to drop off that prom dress.

The 5th annual Melissa's Closet and Crystal's Jewelry Box prom dress drive is being organized by employees at Whitmore Ace Hardware in Braidwood.

The event honors Braidwood residents Melissa Michalowski and Crystal Carr who were killed in a car accident in December 2008.

"Every girl should get a chance to go to prom and wear an amazing dress," said Khrista Mitchell, drive volunteer and assistant manager at Ace.

From now until the end of February, over 13 local and area businesses will be accepting prom dress donations. The public is urged to comb through their closets and collect any long or short formal gowns (from 2010-new) and accessories, such as fancy jewelry, purses or shoes to help fill the racks at the dress sale. All dresses that are dropped off must be clean, on hangers and in excellent condition.

The current dress drop off locations are:

• Whitmore Ace Hardware, 237 North Front St., Braidwood, 815-458-9850

• Whitmore Ace Hardware, 1105 South Water St., Wilmington, 815-476-7761

• Whitmore Ace Hardware, 361 South Locust St., Manteno, 815-468-3137

• Whitmore Ace Hardware, 210 State St., Manhattan, 815-478-3317

• Quality Auto Body, 971 North 1st Ave., Coal City, 815-634-8511

• Fossil Ridge Public Library, 386 West Kennedy Rd., Braidwood, 815-458-2187

• Free Press Newspapers, 111 South Water St., Wilmington, 815-476-7966

• Free Press Newspapers, 271 South Broadway St., Coal City, 815-634-0315

• Our Caring Closet, 624 Davy Ln., Wilmington, 815-476-0900

• Naked Sun South, 294 South Front St., Braidwood, 815-458-9810

• Naked Sun Hair Tan and Day Spa, 2918 East Division St., Diamond, 815-634-0143

• Gene Mundt American Portfolio Manager, 318 Alana Dr., New Lenox, 815-524-2280

• All participating churches

Melissa and her best friend Crystal, were killed in 2008 during a car accident on a snowy December evening just north of Custer Park. The girls were seniors at Reed-Custer High School, and their families were given their high school diplomas at the graduation ceremony the following spring.

Laurie Becker, who worked with Melissa at Ace, decided five years ago to organize an event for the girls, who died without being able to attend their senior prom. Becker and the crew at Whitmore's started collecting used prom dresses for an exchange.

In the first year, the dresses were sold out of a classroom at Reed-Custer High School after school. Then the following year, the event moved to the Fossil Ridge Library, and lines were out the door all morning. Last year, to accommodate the bigger crowds, the event was moved to Cardinal Transport in Coal City.

Becker had hoped to hold the drive there again this year since it offered plenty of room for all the dresses, dressing rooms, and a stage set up where girls could get their hair done. Unfortunately, the trucking company received considerable damage during the Nov. 17 tornado and is unable to host this year's event.

Becker said the Godley Park District building has been lined up as the distribution site for this year. The open-to-all dress event will take place on Saturday, March 1, from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Make sure to grab a copy of this week's edition of the Braidwood Journal, or subscribe on-line at, to finish reading the remainder of this article.

Illinois Central Sch Buss

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