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Ellsworth Air Force Veteran Crowned in Ms. Veteran America Competition

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Brittany Kenney
  • 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

A retired Air Force officer and member of the 28th Bomb Wing was recently crowned 2nd runner-up in the Ms. Veteran America competition in Orlando, FL, October 8, 2023.

Jennifer Rollins, 28 BW protocol chief, was among dozens of female veteran applicants from across the U.S. and its territories who participated in the competition sponsored by the nonprofit organization Final Salute Inc. The mission of the competition was to showcase “The Woman Beyond the Uniform.”

“It was really fulfilling to be in a room full of veterans; we’re all mothers and sisters and daughters,” Rollins said. “It’s nice to feel beautiful, but beauty is so much more than just what you’re seeing. It’s the resilience in each of us and the way that we have grown throughout each of our campaigns.”

The competition featured an interview, a push-up challenge, an evening gown event and a talent component that had all contestants perform a lip-sync routine of their choice. Additionally, prior to the event in Florida, fundraising activities were conducted by each contestant to bring awareness and support homeless women veterans with safe and suitable housing.

“All of what we do leading up to the stage competition is considered our advocacy part – our social outreach and community involvement – which included fundraising efforts,” said Rollins. “I give a lot of credit for people who are in the fundraising world as an occupation because it takes a lot of effort and long-standing, genuine heartfelt relationships.”

As a result of her hard work, Rollins raised $20,850 for the nonprofit, earning her the Donation Whisperer award for the contestant in the final 20 that raised the most money. Final Salute Inc. states that only $25 a day will pay for transitional housing for homeless women veterans and their children, including case management, food, and clothing.

In addition to fundraising, the competition judges look at what contestants do for their community, which led to Rollins also earning the Selfless Service award for her active involvement with volunteering in her local area. The award was presented by the Gary Sinise Foundation, an organization that supports veterans and their families.

“This competition did an outstanding job of showing ‘The Woman Beyond the Uniform,’” said Rollins. “It was really powerful to see and was extremely rewarding.”