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Ms. Veteran American finalist stand up for women in need

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Jaquelyn Rosenow
  • 927th Air Refueling Wing
Being an Aeromedical Evacuation medical technician, I have had experiences that bring me all around the world for both training and real-world missions. AE is more than a job to me, it is what makes me who I am.

As an airman, I took an oath to never leave a wingman behind. This devotion to duty encouraged me to step up. I’ve found that pride often discourages people to ask for help when they need it. It stands as a barrier that must be broken and can be, if we encourage the conversation to take place.

I was made aware of the problem of homelessness in our military community because members within my own squadron were faced with homelessness. With prompt intervention, the unit assisted them to get back on their feet. It was our military community that stepped up to help our own, and that is a topic worth discussing.

I learned how to serve as an advocate from numerous mentors in my life but specifically from my wife. I met Lindsay while in the Air Force Reserve, and being dual military, we have lived through the hardships that military life can pose, specifically being deployed numerous times in differing locations. It was due to our commitment to each other and our strong support network of friends and family that we have been so resilient. Others don’t have such safety nets. It is why we need to learn to take care of each other, even after one leaves the military.

My wife and I work as part of an aeromedical evacuation team that provides in-flight medical care and evacuation to sick and wounded military members. Of the hundreds of wounded I’ve taken care of in combat, I can’t help but to wonder if they too struggle with housing and resources once returning home. Reports show that nearly 70% of homeless female veterans are single mothers. I must admit that these drastically growing numbers hit home, especially as Lindsay and I represent a unique population within the military community - we are two women whom are actively serving together. Our circumstance has allowed us to become a resource for many, and encouraged me to compete for Ms. Veteran America (MVA) as a voice for the thousands of women facing homelessness, whom remain silent.

To my surprise I not only helped raise $1,500 of the total $53,000 dollars that can support approximately six women and their children for a year, I was also selected a one of the top 10 finalists. I was overjoyed when the crown was given to my well deserving sister is arms, Lindsay Gutierrez. But this competition was not about me or any of the other contestants, it was about what we can do for the women who this organization supports.

The women whom competed will serve as lifelong advocates for women veterans, and Ms. Veteran America serves as their primary ambassador for one year by providing educational talks regarding problems women face once out of the military.

MVA encourages solutions for homeless and at risk for homeless women veterans by promoting appropriate considerations that are unique to women.
MVA is more than a competition. It serves as an advocate for our homeless veterans and enabled the story of the woman veteran to be shared. Having a voice is important. One advocate whom stood out at the MVA event was Col. Nicole Malachowski.

Malachowski served as the first female Air Force Thunderbird pilot, commanded the 333rd Fighter Squadron, Seymour Johnson, S.C., and in 2015, became the new executive director of the White Houses’ Joining Forces Initiative and most recently, served as part of White House fellowship in which she pushed the fastest bill in U.S. history- granting the Woman Air Force Service Pilots their veteran status.

During the event, Malachowski shared with me how important it is that we stand together to advocate for our sisters in arms - for if we don’t step up, then who will?

Approximately 22 million America veterans exist today, 2.2 million are women veterans. They don't need to be saved because they are not victims. They are resilient warriors and need only to be given the same opportunity their male counterparts receive once discharged. MVA provides that voice for thousands of women, allowing women veterans to get back on their feet.