On the surface, Ms. Veteran America may look like any other beauty pageant. However, this is so much more than a pageant. A private charitable organization, Final Salute, Inc., is the direct beneficiary of this competition. The mission of Final Salute is to support homeless women veterans and their children.
Women veterans are currently the fastest-growing homeless population in the United States, according to the Ms. Veteran America website. Over half of these homeless women veterans are single mothers. The proceeds of the event help to provide housing for these women and their children.
While providing help for homeless women veterans and raising awareness for this growing issue, the Ms. Veteran America competition also sets out to showcase “the woman beyond the uniform” (Ms. Veteran America, 2018). The competition aims to highlight more than just the strength, courage, and sacrifice of the military women of this nation. It also wants to remind everyone that these women are mothers, daughters, sisters, and wives as well. It’s a movement to encourage women veterans to uplift each other and to find their tribe.
Eligible contestants for Ms. Veteran America must be:
- A woman who is either a veteran or still serving
- Able to show documentation of an Honorable discharge
- A veteran or currently serving military member who has completed the initial military service obligation unless the veteran was medically discharged
- In uniform for a minimum of 180 days of active service (above and beyond training requirements)
- In good health
- Actively involved in the local community as a volunteer
- Able to adhere to a code of conduct
The winner of Ms. Veteran America is expected to put in a minimum of 100 hours of community service during her 12 months of holding the title. They are an ambassador for the pageant and also for Final Salute, Inc. There is also the obligation of attending speaking engagements and PR events.
Due to current restrictions, this event will take place virtually this year, on October 11th, from 6 pm to 8 pm, CDT.