ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Elise Dent from Charlotte Hall, Md. was recently crowned Ms. Veteran America at their Oct. 16 competition. This year’s Ms. Veteran America pageant focused on “The Woman Beyond The Uniform.”
Dent hopes to embody this ideal as Ms. Veteran America and ambassador for Final Salute Inc. which is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that provides homeless women Veterans and their children with safe, suitable housing.
Although Dent was born in Washington D.C., Dent was raised in Charlotte Hall, where she was a student-athlete playing volleyball, basketball and running track and field. She said her upbringing as an athlete opened up a passion for staying active and healthy.
As time went on, Dent would enlist in the Maryland Army National Guard for education and challenge herself physically with basic training.
“To get into the army it was primarily education benefits, but I was also looking for a change in my daily structure. I wanted a new challenge,” Dent said. “In military training, the challenge is the competition and the structure of planning in a lot of the training exercises. It gave me a different scope of life.”
Additionally, Dent was motivated to this competition by seeing others she knew compete in it, and it allowed her to advocate for a cause that was close to home.
“One of my mentors competed in the competition last year, and once I found out what the purpose of Final Salute was, I was in since this is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that provides homeless women Veterans with housing. I am a woman and a veteran, so I was excited to advocate for this cause,” Dent said.
Even though this competition was for a good cause, Dent believes that this competition tested her mental stamina as she tried to maintain the frame she built.
“The hardest part about this competition for me was to stay motivated and consistent. Throughout the year, I established #marchingmondays, and that was me marching to donations. When I would get the donations from Facebook or individually, I would send them straight to the final salute. I would rough march one mile for every $25 accumulated,” Dent said.
Since becoming Ms. Veteran America, Dent’s task has been heavy as she balances her work and social life. As Ms. Veteran America, she is almost always on call for appearances, which can be a struggle with her social media.
Dent looks forward to doing any military-related events like Veterans Day, Month of the Military Child, and Women’s Military Month in the future.
For more information on Elise Dent and what she will do as Ms. Veteran America soon, click here to see her Facebook page.
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