Jennifer Sheppard's husband, a master sergeant in the Air Force, was on his way back from a six-month deployment to Qatar.
So the off of a new hairstyle couldn't have been better, said Sheppard who was among about a dozen military spouses and active duty personnel treated to a night of pampering.
For two hours, hair stylist Simone Williams washed, cut, dried and styled Sheppard's long dark hair at the Hair Cuttery at Westchase Shopping Center. The special evening with food, wine and gift bags was sponsored by the salon with assistance of the American Red Cross Tiffany Circle chapter of Tampa Bay.
"It was just great; I haven't had time to get a haircut but I made time today," said Sheppard who has been married to Chris Sheppard for 13 years and has two daughters, 12 and 7. Chris Sheppard has been in the military for 17 years and was expected back May 1, just two days after the free hair styling.
Bubbles, a companion company of the Hair Cuttery, offered a similar evening in Washington, D.C., and the local salon and the Tiffany Circle chapter heard about it and planned it here.
"It a good thing to give back and these people (military members and families) are helping us out," said Sarah Zielinski, manager of the shop.
The event also served as a kickoff for Military Spouse Appreciation Month, said Jill Valenti, who started the Tiffany Circle chapter where members give at least $10,000 to the American Red Cross each year.
Tiffany Circle member Marsha Dickey assisted Valenti with setting up the food and drinks.
"The Red Cross has worked very closely with the base over the years," Dickey said.
Active military members also could participate in the special night, which included Greek salad and wraps.
Kim Rabon, who has been in the service for 19 years, got her hair cut and styled, and her eyebrows waxed.
"It was a surprise; I've never had anything like this given to me and I needed a haircut now," she said as stylist Nicole Collins worked on her hair.
When Williams, who has been a stylist for 13 years, finished Sheppard's hair, there were hugs and participants fighting back tears.
"I like to give back," Williams said. "I'll volunteer to make someone feel good. That's what I do."