Shannon Keil runs The Regent in Riverview. She wants to bless the women who work in the hospital with wedding dresses to thank them for working hard during the pandemic.
RIVERVIEW, Fla .– Shannon Keil was a newlywed. Very young.
âI was 16. I was 16,â she laughed as she told the story. âWe’ve been married for almost 30 years now. So, I found my prince charming early on.
Her father sewed her wedding dress by hand after choosing the fabric. She got married in her grandfather’s church. From her teenage years, she understood the special moments that flow from this sacred ceremony.
This is one of the main reasons she has been helping others make their marriage memorable for 25 years.
âWe’re very busy,â said Keil, who worked as CEO of The Regent for three years. âWe’re number two in Tampa for all weddings.
The veteran event organizer is grateful that the COVID-19 pandemic has ended for the majority of Americans. Events returned to The Regent, including weddings. Just before the start of the pandemic, she received 26 dresses from a local business.
âAlmost two years ago,â she says.
The dresses were from Satin & Lace Bridal. Originally, the donated dresses, which were all demonstration dresses, were to be distributed as part of a community scavenger hunt. COVID has changed those plans. For two years, the dresses remained on hangers at the Regent.
âWe never intended to keep them that long,â Keil said.
Now, she and others in her office have devised a plan to get the dresses for deserving brides.
âThese dresses go to healthcare workers. They are for people who have given and given and given while the rest of us had to sit still, âKeil said.
Healthcare workers (or a family member) at Brandon Regional Hospital, just a ten-minute drive from the Regent, will be able to submit their names for a dress review. Keil asked anyone interested in any of the 26 dresses to email her request, along with a 500-word statement outlining what it would mean for her to receive a wedding dress.
âAll I’ve done in my whole life is trying to find the point that brings joy to people,â she said. “I hope that in the end someone will find a joy that they previously couldn’t find through a dress.”
The dresses are available in different sizes and styles. Keil’s hope is to find the perfect match for brides in the healthcare industry to serve as a ‘thank you’ for all the hard work they’ve done during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I know there are people who are going to come here and they may have been through COVID and may not have had any income or something and the fact that I have a dress here that will be good. for them makes me happy. “
Dress code emails should be sent to [email protected] Applications will be accepted until September 1. A group of candidates will be filtered by a committee and women will then be chosen.
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