DVIDS – News – Maryland National Guard Army Medical Officer Major Elise Dent crowns Ms.Veteran America 2nd Medical Services Corps Officer in Top 10

FALLS CHURCH, VA – Maj.Elise Dent of the Maryland National Guard’s Joint Force Headquarters in Baltimore was crowned Ms. Veteran America 2021 on October 10 and will serve as Final Salute Inc.’s ambassador for next year. Dent, a medical planner, is the branch chief of programs for soldiers and families in the state of Maryland. Additionally, Major Marie St. Louis Okoro placed in the top 10 of the competition, which is a program of Final Salute Inc., a non-profit organization.

The mission of Final Salute is to provide safe and suitable housing for homeless veteran women and their children.

Dent helped raise funds for the organization by launching his own awareness event called Ruck March Mondays. During a ruck march, a soldier carries all of his military equipment in a backpack called a ruck. Dent agreed to ruck March 1 mile for every $ 25 donated to his cause. Dent used social media platforms to promote the opportunity to donate. Between February and October of this year, she traveled over 200 miles to support Final Salute.

“I am blessed to be in a good situation,” Dent said. “But if I can help others get through a difficult time, I want to do it.”

Applicants for the Ms. Veteran America were scored and ranked in four areas: interview, talent, military history, and advocacy.

“This competition is not based on beauty, and there is no bikini competition,” said Dent, who lip-synced with a song for a talent part. “Women of all types and ages can compete,” she said.

In addition to fundraising, Dent volunteers at American Legion Post 22 in Towson, Maryland. She’s a bartender and tips all of Final Salute.

Dent, who was commissioned from Morgan State University, served in the Army National Guard for 18 years and is now an Active Guard Reserve Soldier for his home state of Maryland.

Major Marie St. Louis Okoro of Military Medicine placed in the top ten in the competition.

“People assume that if you’ve served you have certain resources,” said Okoro, whose fellow combatant told him about the organization. “It doesn’t have to be. Being part of the organization opened my eyes.”

Okoro is a medical planner and currently a student at the School of Advanced Military Studies, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. She served 14 years in the military, including 12 in the US military. Like Dent, she is an Active Guard Reserve Soldier and was commissioned from Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville.

“I had no idea all the homeless veteran women there were until I joined Final Salute,” Okoro said. “Women and young women have always been my passion. The mission of Final Salute is therefore near and dear to my heart.

Okoro also used social media to raise funds for the organization. For the talent part of the contest, she did a praise dance for a battered woman. “I had never done a praise dance before,” Okoro said. “And as a Christian woman, I even wondered if I would be viewed negatively because of using a gospel song for talent. But I prayed for it, and it went very well.

Date taken: 28.10.2021
Date posted: 29.10.2021 13:50
Story ID: 408303
Site: FALLS CHURCH, VA, United States

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