Ms. Veteran America is a competition among women veterans who exemplify the “Woman Beyond the Uniform” in many different ways, have served their country honorably and remain active in their community. There were over 600 applicants this year, more than ever. Over 400 became contestants and through semifinals that number was divided exponentially. We held semi-finals in June where we had an interview portion and talent portion. Before then we were judged on our social media contributions, fundraising and advocacy of current issues, especially those focusing on homeless women veterans. Sunday July 5th the Top 25 finalists were announced and I am excited and honored to say I am one of them! I will be headed to Las Vegas for the October 18th Final competition for Ms. Veteran America 2015! There there will be different categories such as interview, talent, gown, military history and more!
Our primary platform is advocacy for Final Salute, Inc which is the competition’s sole beneficiary assisting homeless women veterans. Final Salute, Inc was founded by Jas Boothe who found herself, as a single mother, newly diagnosed with cancer just after losing her home during Hurricane Katrina. Through Jas Boothe’s efforts Final Salute, Inc has assisted over 900 homeless women veterans. Despite that great number, an estimated 55,000 women veterans (and their children) remain homeless every day. There are programs within the organization that provide not only financial assistance but transitional housing, business attire, education on finances and job application, sustenance needs, resume writing and more.
I personally believe our women veterans find themselves without a home and without financial capability, sometimes with children as well, as the result of other larger needs. Transitioning from military life to civilian life, medical diagnoses that result in being forced out of their service, PTSD, depression and the lack of resources for women specifically. In this day in age it’s amazing how often people are surprised when they find out my service experience, as if I am not capable of shooting a weapon, calling a time of death on a friend in the desert, and successfully applying lipstick. But America’s patriotism is at an all-time high and can only continue to improve.
During our lunch time I noticed two female WWII veterans from an honor flight so I went to chat with them and thank them for their service and paving the way for the rest of us…this young lady was about to turn 98 the next day!
Selfie with fellow finalist and female veteran, Lisa Wright
For my talent portion I, of course, chose dance performing a fun, self-choreographed mash up routine of Irish dance, with hip-hop and Jazz. Below is my costume.