City of Austin Veterans Commissioner Advocates for Veterans
Washington, DC – October 19, 2016 – Molly Mae Potter was crowned Ms. Veteran America 2016 at the 5th Annual Ms. Veteran America Competition in Washington, D.C. Potter was selected from 25 finalists who competed against hundreds of contestants in regional competitions across the country to be the one to proudly wear the crown and to tell the story of Ms. Veteran America and its mission to end homelessness among women veterans.
Potter, who was deployed to Afghanistan in 2010 where she sustained injuries that resulted in a traumatic brain injury and PTSD, now advocates for treatment and resources to help veterans heal from the “invisible wounds of war.” During her time as Ms. Veteran America, Potter will tour the country to talk about the competition and the cause it promotes. Potter says, “I’m looking forward to working with communities across the country, to elaborate on the discussion and advocating for homeless women veterans in their community and what they can do.”
Ms. Veteran America Director Denyse Gordon says of Potter, “She’s fantastic when it comes to advocating. She maintains the integrity of why Ms. Veteran America was created.”
The Ms. Veteran America Competition consists of a push-up contest, an evening gown competition, a talent portion and a question and answer round. The competition has grown in size and in the number of women who apply since its inauguration from 60 applicants in 2012 to about 400 applicants this year.
Five years ago, Ms. Veteran America was established to give a national platform to Final Salute, Inc. – a national nonprofit organization that assists homeless women veterans and their children to find suitable housing and to prepare for the workforce. Ms. Veteran America honors the women beyond the uniform. Not only have these women given to our country, but also they have given of their time, their resources, and have helped change the topic of discussion that encompasses women veterans. Women veterans are currently the fastest growing segment of the homeless population in the U.S.
Maj. Jas Boothe (CNN Hero and Oprah Winfrey Standing Ovation Recipient) is the founder of Ms. Veteran America and Final Salute, Inc. She was prompted to start Final Salute, Inc. and bring attention to the fastest growing homeless demographic in America, women veterans, when she was made aware that no other resources existed for them and their children. Jas was homeless in 2005-2006, due to Hurricane Katrina and in addition to battling cancer. No resources existed to help her during that challenging time. Boothe set out to make changes.
About Molly Mae Potter
Born and raised in North Carolina as the daughter of two Army veterans, Molly Mae Potter developed a passion for aviation, science, and space from an early age. In 2010, she was selected into a special acquisitions program with USSOCOM and eventually deployed with JSOC in support of OEF. During her deployment with JSOC she was injured, but returned to normal flying duty without proper treatment. In the years that followed her deployment, Capt. Potter suffered from a multitude of health issues that stemmed from undiagnosed and untreated PTSD and TBI. Through the help of a very concerning commander and the support of her family and friends, Capt. Potter was able to get her life back on track and received PTSD treatment at Nellis Air Force Base and received a registered service dog, Bella. In November 2013, Capt. Potter was honorably discharged from active duty with Bella by her side. Molly Mae Potter now lives in Austin, Texas where she currently is the Operations Manager for the Vice President of Client Product Operations and Strategy at Dell Computers. She actively serves as the Texas State Air Force Association Vice President for Government and Industry and this year was selected as one of the 2016-2017 Emerging Leaders for the Air Force Association at a national level. Locally, she serves for the City of Austin as a commissioner for veteran’s affairs working to ensure the veterans in Austin are fairly and justly represented and served in the City of Austin. She is also very active in promoting Warrior Service Dogs, a non-profit organization dedicated to rescuing dogs and training them to support disabled veterans’ needs. In her free time, Molly Mae enjoys traveling the world. When not traveling abroad she enjoys running, spending time with her dog, her morning coffee, and spending time with her family and friends.
About Ms. Veteran America
The Ms. Veteran American competition highlights more than the strength, courage and sacrifice of our nation’s military women – it also reminds that these women are mothers, daughter, sisters and wives. Ms. Veteran America is also a role model, teaching and empowering young women and girls to support, inspire and uplift one another. The Ms. Veteran America competition has assisted Final Salute Inc. in raising over $1.7 million to combat homelessness among women veterans. www.ms.veteranamerica.org