Lee News

Gutierrez Named Ms. Veteran America 2017


Lee University alumna Staff Sergeant Lindsay Gutierrez was recently named Ms. Veteran America (MVA) 2017 at the final in Washington D.C.

“Every time I put on the crown, it is a huge honor to represent women veterans,” said Gutierrez. “I am able to show people that women veterans don’t have to just choose one thing; they can be a mother, a wife, and a working member of society.”

Gutierrez enlisted in the United States Air Force in fall 2010. During her six-year service, she served on two deployments to Qatar and Djibouti. She also went on a temporary duty assignment in Israel. After leaving the Air Force in September 2016 with an honorable discharge, Gutierrez learned about Ms. Veteran America and Final Salute Inc. She has since been working toward raising awareness of homeless female veterans with both groups.

MVA Winner
Lindsay Gutierrez

Gutierrez, one of 440 applicants for MVA, competed in June in Arlington, Virginia, at the semi-finals. She was notified in July that she was one of the 25 finalists. She competed at the final on Oct. 6-8, in D.C.

While there, she competed in an interview and talent portion as well as team-building events for all the finalists.

“For the next year, I will travel around the country attending different events in order to put a face to all the different branches of women veterans,” said Gutierrez.

The MVA competition collaborates with Final Salute Inc. (FSI) to raise awareness about female veteran homelessness. Army Major Jaspen Boothe founded FSI in 2010. She started the organization after experiencing homelessness herself due to a medical discharge and her home’s destruction from Hurricane Katrina. Boothe’s family eventually stepped in and helped her find her footing again, but due to her experience, she was painfully aware of the need for specialized women veterans’ care.

“MVA was a healing process for a lot of the woman involved,” said Gutierrez. “I went through a season of hardship before competing that, at the time, did not make sense, but now it all adds up. The Lord was preparing me for this role.”

The MVA competition was born out of the non-profit as a way to spread the reach and awareness of FSI. The organizations work together to ensure all women veterans have support to lean on in a time of need. The competition is open to any female veteran who has served the U.S. in any capacity.

Gutierrez, who graduated from Lee in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in theatre, was a pitcher for the Lady Flames softball team during her time at Lee. She went on to earn her Master of Arts in human relations at University of Oklahoma during her service. Gutierrez is currently pursuing a second master’s degree in social work from Arizona State University with a concentration in forensics and trauma.

“It is so special to see people graduate and go on to create such a positive and powerful version of themselves by following the will of God,” said Emily Russell, coach for the Lady Flames softball team.

For more information about MVA, visit site.

For more information about FSI, click here.
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