NORFOLK- Sandy Gessler of Norfolk was one of 39 people who competed in the Ms. Senior America 2018 Pageant. The pageant focused on what contestants have done and can do for their community.
She was proud to represent Nebraska, by raising awareness about homeless veterans. This is because she was once homeless herself. But her need for change didn’t go away after her homelessness situation.
Although Gessler didn’t win, she said the pageant opened doors to share that there are ways to help.
Her project is also extremely important to the American Legion. Post Commander Rick Kropf says that he supports Gessler Project and that part of the VFW’s motto is “leave no veteran behind.”
Gessler has served her country as a soldier, as a guardsman, and as a child advocate, but she isn’t done giving back. Gessler is currently working on creating a resource to connect veterans with local organizations and assistance. The project involves researching communities and compiling lists of contacts, which she said she will send to a statewide Nebraska veterans organization for distribution.
She says the project is needed, even more so than she thought and that mental health plays a huge role for homeless veterans.
Her future goals are to continue advocating on behalf of homeless veterans by attending events, state conventions, Veteran Day and Memorial Day activities, and gathering more resource information on services.
She also hopes to compete in more pageants to continue telling her story. Gessler says, “there is no age limit to your goals.”