Prom dress worn 20 years ago gets a second chance after Hurricane Harvey destruction

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Twenty years ago, a beaded evening gown made its debut at the Bellaire High School prom. On Saturday night, it was worn again at the 2018 Bellaire prom.

"My dad went out of his way and bought it for me at Tootsie's," said Tracy Maness, who wore it one time and then put it in her closet at her parent's home.

Last year, after Hurricane Harvey, "I just happened to come across the dress after my dad flooded in Meyerland and it was still in the same Tootsie's bag. I knew I'd never wear it again, so I decided to pass it on and bless somebody else with it," she said.

Maya Munoz and her family were affected by Harvey as well. Their Meyerland apartment flooded, and their furniture was lost. Friends helped them find a new apartment, and a FEMA check helped pay for new furniture.

A prom dress was not on the "must-have" list, but Maya's mother was confident things would work out.

"Everything fell into place after the flood, and our needs were met. I knew this one would be as well," said Selene Ballestas.

Ballestas and Maness are former co-workers, and friends. Maness suggested Maya might have use for her prom dress.

"The people at Tootsie's couldn't believe it was 20 years old," she said. "It's classic and elegant."

Maya wanted to go to prom, and decided she'd figure out something to wear. That something turned out to be a floor-length sequin and beaded gown, with an intricate bodice and back.

"I feel so blessed," she said. "Not that many people would have this opportunity to get a free dress that would fit perfectly with their personality and physically fit."

The dark, red dress fit her perfectly, with no alteration required.

When told of the dress's history, Tootsie's gifted Maya with a pair of sequined shoes and earrings to complete the prom ensemble.

Maness looked on, as the dress she once wore, was modeled for her by the 18-year-old Bellaire High School senior, recalling her own prom night.

"It made me feel very special and it was a great night. It feels good to be passing it on," she said.

As Ballestas watched her daughter's transformation from jeans into evening wear, she smiled.

"It does take a village to raise a child," she said. "And send them to prom."
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