Fun activities aside, what’s abundantly clear about each cheerleader is the genuine rewards derived from delivering a little dose of “home” to service members stationed in faraway lands. Emotions run high on military bases. Cheerleader Amy recalls, “I was at a dinner table with a soldier in Djibouti, in Africa, and he was telling me how he proposed to his girlfriend, how much he loved and missed her. He started crying, and then I started crying. It was so touching, so sweet.” Squad member Ariana remembers a 2008 Christmas Eve visit to a military base in Afghanistan. “Ten of us were with the USO, along with comedians, singers and models traveling all over the country in a C-130 without seats. One night, country singer Mark Wills performed the song ‘Coming Home,’ and everyone sitting in the audience, thousands of troops, began hysterically crying and hugging each other. It was so incredible.”

The Miami Dolphins cheerleaders’ philanthropic outreach experiences put the tranquility and peace of America’s domestic life in perspective, and heighten the meaning of what they do overseas. “Honestly,” says Ariana, “I get more nervous in front of a group of 10 soldiers than 75,000 fans cheering the team on to a win.”

Like what you're reading? Get it delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up now for our newsletters >>