Boots on the Ground with Ms Pennsylvania
April 21, 2022
You know the crown that pageant queens wear? It’s not won by looks alone. Angel Brianne Houck, who won the United States of America Pageant (USOA) Ms. Pennsylvania title in October is proof of that.
“People who get involved with pageants – their whole mission is to put more good back into the world. To make people aware of something that maybe needs more attention,” says Brianne.
This queen spends a lot of time with boots on the ground supporting military veterans and deployed service members. As a veteran who comes from a military family, she knows how important it is to support our military heroes.
Brianne’s military career started at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Her class was actually the first to enter post 9/11.
“I went in expecting to be a career military woman and Army doctor. But God had other plans for me. I developed some health problems around my third year and was medically discharged. That ended my Army career. I was devasted at the time – I think anybody would be. I was very disappointed that I couldn’t continue my military duty as an active soldier but that didn’t stop me from supporting veterans and soldiers,” she says.
Brianne has also been involved with Wounded Warriors, Pets for Vets, Team Red White and Blue, Tails of Valor, USO, Soldiers’ Angels, and more. As a United States of America Pageant competitor, her platform is “Operation Helping our Heroes.”
“My platform encompasses all of our military, not just one group. I want to support the organizations that are training service animals for our veterans with PTSD. I want to support organizations supporting our wounded veterans. I want to support organizations like Soldiers’ Angels that are collecting goods for veterans in VA Hospitals and deployed service members. And so my platform was a way to encourage the community and others as a whole. There is no such thing as doing too much for our veterans. In my opinion, we’ll never be able to do enough,” she explains.
Her role as an Angel
Brianne serves on multiple teams as a Team Angel. She’s on our …
- Chaplain Support Team
- Cards Plus Team
- Special Operations Force Team
- Baby Brigade Team
- Ladies of Liberty Team
- Deployed Adoptions Team
Ms. Pennsylvania also gets her pageant sisters involved in our annual campaigns. She got fellow pageant queens to do Valentines for Veterans, they also stuffed over 30 stockings over the holidays. She also just sent socks for Warm Feet for Warriors and participated in our Blanket Drive last year. She’s also working on getting involved with her local VA Hospital once they start accepting visitors again.
“I’ve been involved with Soliders’ Angels for 2 or 3 years now. Every time I am looking to do something else, Soldiers’ Angels always has something going on. I just participated in Warm Feet for Warriors. I love how you’re always looking ahead for what to do next and how to maximize your impact to give back to our veterans and service members,” says Brianne.
She got involved after researching nonprofits that support veterans and service members. When she stumbled upon our website, she was blown away by the amount of support we provide.
“I was very impressed and I admired the mission of the organization from the start. I could tell that there were so many different initiatives being taken. It wasn’t just collecting money – you are collecting goods and items you know our veterans need,” she says.
Granting wishes for our veterans
Brianne’s service doesn’t end with Soldiers’ Angels. She just received her 501c3 status for her own nonprofit: American Hero Wishes.
“The concept for it came up while I was preparing for the Miss Pennsylvania pageant. I had been working with my pageant coach, who knows my background and how passionate I am about giving back to the military and veterans. She suggested I start my own nonprofit.”
Brianne’s coach had been working with the Make A Wish Foundation and commented that it would be cool if there was something like that for veterans. Brianne did some research and was unable to come across anything like that. So she started building it!
American Hero Wishes’ mission is to ensure our wounded veterans know how much they’re appreciated by granting them their most wanted wish.
“We have 26 veterans per day in this country who take their own lives. That’s 26 too many. I don’t want a veteran to ever take their life because they think no one cares. We accept nominations for wounded veterans who could use something to uplift them, give them hope, and help them move forward with their next mission in life,” explains Brianne.
And if you weren’t impressed enough, Miss Pennsylvania is also a PhD student! We are so lucky to have such a dedicated and passionate Angel on our side! Brianne is beautiful both inside and out and we can’t wait to see her work continue.