Brandi Pett always knew she wanted to be in the military. “From a young age I believed that there was nothing more honorable than serving your country,” she said. Pett joined the US Air Force in 2003 as an Aerospace Medical Technician (medic), one week after she graduated from Clear Lake High School.
Pett had moved to Clear Lake at the age of 13, after her father’s military service had ended and he started to work for Clear Lake School District as the Transportation Director. She said, “It was a bit of a transition at first to move from Germany to Wisconsin, but I soon fell in love with my brand new school, homecoming and the fall season. She grew up in the little community with her two sisters Jessica and Jayme and parents Art and Tracy Pett.
Pett said her military service was not the standard military experience. “After I got to my first duty station after my clinical rotations I found I loved instructing so I became an EMT Instructor, CPR Instructor, CPR Instructor Trainer and Self Aide Buddy Care Instructor. I truly loved everything about being a medic and helping our active duty, reserve, retirees and their families. When I later was stationed in RAF Lakenheath (England), I almost lost both legs and my right arm due to medical apathy which ended my military career after my aerovac and I was medically retired.”
She shared she was inspired to compete for the title of Ms. Veteran America after watching the documentary Served Like a Girl, which covered the 2015 Ms Veteran America Finals.
The Ms. Veteran America competition highlights more than the strength, courage, and sacrifice of the nations military women, but also reminds that these women are Mothers, Daughters, Sisters and Wives.
Ms. Veteran America is a movement, encouraging women veterans to uplift each other and find their tribe. Proceeds from the event provide housing for homeless women Veterans and their children. Women Veterans are currently the fastest growing homeless population in America. Over half of homeless women veterans are single mothers.
Final Salute Inc. is the veteran nonprofit organization that hosts the Ms. Veteran America competition each year. Final Salute Inc. not only helps women veterans who are homeless, but also those that are at risk of being homeless and also recently transitioning female service members. Pett became with the organization immediately after watching the documentary.
“Watching the documentary was the first time I had seen a military competition where disabled veterans could be celebrated for being different. I immediately consulted with my prosthetic doctor to create three braces to compete, one of which attaches to a high heel. It means a lot to me to be able to be part of something as large as this and this competition and raising funds for homeless women veterans and their children is something I am honored to be a part of,” Pett said.
She said the process of running for the title has been educational. “This competition pushed me to overcome many obstacles I had never imagined like the green screen videography and some I had struggled with for years, such as with my braces or physical therapy. I have met so many people on this journey that have helped me so much and been phenomenal mentors as well as meeting sisters for life in my 2020 cohort.”
Pett has one daughter, Aurelia, who is four-years-old. Pett currently reside in San Antonio Texas, but she gets home to Clear Lake to visit her parents a few times a year. She said, “I was just home to raffle a team signed Green Bay Packer football and many other baskets to raise funds for my homeless sisters in arms.”
People can tune in to watch the 2020 Ms. Veteran America broadcast this Sunday, Oct 11. Tickets are $25. The proceeds go to housing homeless women veterans. The following link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ms-veteran-america-2020-tickets-117333741379?fbclid=IwAR2MIuLMXbQ5CqoPQxtxNbryOZ7z_z5ZAE_VN67ZjvxvOrJwzXrutjcmHYQ will bring viewers to the broadcast.