FORT HOOD, Texas – Chaplain (Major) Lisa Northway, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, U.S. Army Garrison, attended the 2022 Mrs. Veteran America pageant in Orlando, Florida on Oct. 30.
The pageant encourages female veterans to lift each other up and find their tribe, as well as raise funds for Final Salute Incorporated, a leader in helping the fastest growing homeless population, female veterans and their families.
“It’s hard to imagine that we, those of us who have served and are serving, are the fastest growing homeless population in America,” Northway said.
Northway competed in the semifinals in June in Orlando, where contestants were given five minutes to answer pointed questions from the judges. They also got to try out their lip sync skills for the talent portion.
“It’s actually hard to remember to move your lips,” Northway said with a laugh.
Northway is the first chaplain to compete in Miss Veteran America, and she was excited to compete alongside a religious affairs professional.
“The real beauty for me was actually having the other part of the religious support team (competing alongside me),” Northway said. “That connection, that sense of companionship is not only “Ms. “Veteran America” in the combat experience of the pageant, but also someone who identifies (with me) with that strong spirit, it was a beautiful thing to be a part of.”
He was proud to represent the Army Chaplain Corps and Fort Hood in the competition.
“Since I’ve been here, a lot of hard things (have happened), but a lot of good things have happened despite the hardships that we’ve all been through. We have all experienced grief and loss. We also experience redemption and to be able to come out of it, the fire from it is a beautiful thing.” Northway said: “We are going to be committed to finding solutions for healing and wholeness. That is my mission as part of the chaplaincy corps.”
After the semifinals, she had a new sense of identity, which she says is one of the best things she got from Ms. Veteran America.
“I felt like I was back to my wife’s veteran identity. I have always had this identity that we nurture and cultivate in the Chaplain Corps for God and country,” he said. “But I realized at that point I wasn’t always going to be a chaplain, but I was always going to be a woman and a veteran.”
Northway will soon be moving to a new assignment at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, where he will serve as a garrison chaplain, but he’s excited for one more event before he leaves Great Place.
“I’m so excited to co-host the third Band of Sisters event,” she said. “It’s open to all service members, but it’s especially in support of our women who are serving (and) have ever served in any branch of the military.”
The Fort Hood Band of Sisters event will take place November 17-18. There will be many guest speakers, including Sisterhood author Kirsten Holmstedt.
For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/FortHoodChaplain.