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Ti native meets First Lady, celebrities

TICONDEROGA-Rachel (Rafferty) Blasdell has been keeping come some pretty exclusive company of late.

The Ticonderoga native recently had an opportunity to meet First Lady Michelle Obama along with Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, and television personality Martha Stewart. She even received gifts from each woman.

"I was very impressed they care enough to think of us," said Blasdell, who was part of a group of 40 military wives attending Operation Shower April 20 at Camp Lejeune, N.C.

"There are only a dozen showers for military spouses and staff, so it was quite an honor to be invited to attend," Blasdell said. "They were very nice."

Operation Shower began in 2007 as a way to celebrate and honor military families. It is a non-profit organization that provides baby showers for military families to ease the burden of deployment.

Blasdell and her husband, Christopher, gave birth to a son, Talon, last Sept. 17.

The 2010 Ti High graduate was also selected for the program because her husband is a member of the Wounded Warrior Battalion.

Christopher Blasdell was wounded seven months into his deployment in Afghanistan. He suffered a traumatic brain injury and is awaiting a medical discharge from the Marine Corps.

During the Operation Shower program Stewart gave a demonstration of scrapbooking while Obama and Biden visited with those attending. Stewart gave mothers scrapbooking materials. Obama and Biden gave away White House baby blankets.

"Mrs. Obama said she made the blankets herself; I don't know about that," Blasdell said. "The blankets have the White House insignia on them. They gave us cribs and lots of other gifts. It was very nice and a lot fun."

Operation Shower began in March 2007 when LeAnn Morrissey, looking for a way to give back to her uncle who was deployed overseas, was asked to send a card to four women who were expecting babies while their spouses were deployed. She decided to try to do much more for the families.

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