She’s An American Veteran Hoping To Help Other Women
By Mike Perleberg
Chrissy Mathews is a finalist in the Miss Veteran America 2017 contest. Photo provided.
(Bright, Ind.) – Bright resident Chrissy Mathews is comfortable in an evening gown and high heels or her Navy uniform.
Mathews is a finalist in the Miss Veteran America 2017 contest. The event is sponsored by Final Salute Inc., a national non-profit organization dedicated to bringing awareness and advocacy to the plight of the homeless women veteran crisis.
Chrissy advanced past the contest semi-finals held in June at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. The semis included an interview session, talent show, and fundraising.
The 47-year-old served in the U.S. Navy after graduating from Taylor High School in 1987, and remained in the service until 1992. She didn’t become homeless after returning to civilian life, but she said many female veterans do.
“I had a fantastic time while I was in the military. When I came out I was not harmed emotionally or physically at all. But it’s amazing how many of the actual contestants in the semi-finals have been homeless themselves and have been through these different things. I know I’m very blessed and very grateful to say that I have not had to go through any of that, but it has put me in a very good place to do something to help those who have,” Chrissy shares.
The mission of Final Salute Inc. is to provide homeless women veterans with safe and suitable housing. Many of those women end up couch surfing when transitioning out of the military. More than 80 percent of female veterans have never used the VA healthcare system, Mathews says, which makes it difficult to track them.
Having made the cut, Chrissy is preparing for the contest’s finals, which will be held October 8 in Washington, D.C. That last portion of the contest will include more fundraising, a talent show, and an evening gown competition in which each of the competitors carries their combat boots.
“A big part of what they are looking for is someone who can actually go out and be a spokesperson for the organization and do interviews and things like that. So, a big part of it comes down to being able to think on your feet, having your statistics right, and knowing where to direct people,” says Mathews.
Fundraising for Final Salute Inc. is a continuing part of the Miss Veteran America contest during the finals. You can donate to the organization through Chrissy’s Crowdrise page.
Chrissy is married to her husband Steve Mathews with two children and a grandchild. She is employed as a business analyst at Great American Insurance in Cincinnati. Mathews is the 1st Vice Commander of AMVETS Post #13 in West Harrison and the Indiana Department of AMVETS District IV 1st Vice Commander.