JACKSONVILLE — Hundreds of volunteers made First Lady Melania Trump’s vision for Christmas at the White House come to life. The founder of K9’s for Warriors, a non-profit helping military veterans receive service dogs, was one of the decorators.
Shari Duval was picked because of her dedication to helping veterans.
“It was magical, that was the only way you could describe it,” Duval told First Coast News.
She says it was a privilege to help decorate the white house for Christmas. She brought many keepsakes back to her Palm Valley home.
Duval is also proud of her 50-year-old Christmas shoes holding up for the trip.
“The old girls made it to the White House,” Duval said.
She plans on retiring the shoes after making the trip. Duval went to volunteer for five days.
She helped decorate the berry trees, among over 50 different trees standing in the White House.
“One of our group members bought thimbles so we can push those clips into every berry on the tree,” Duval said.
The hard work was rewarded with the First Lady’s reaction.
“When she got back to the White House to see everything put together, she said it took her breath away and I’m sure it did because it was spectacular,” Duval said.
What’s special to Duval is not just the keepsakes or the opportunity to meet White House staff.
The trip taught her that the White House is a very happy place.
She also feels that the trip was a reminder to be grateful for what we receive this holiday season.
“It brought home to me the Christmas spirit, that we all can get along,” Duval said.
Duval also doesn’t want people to forget there are many military personnel deployed around the world that may not get to spend time with their families during the holidays.
“I’m a big advocate for the military through K9s for Warriors, and we don’t want to forget our men and women serving that may not be home for Christmas, she said. "Send them a card, send them a note, don’t forget them.”