U.S. Air Force veteran Brandi Pett served her country as an aerospace medical technician and immunology technician in the Air Force. But her service was cut short by medical issues of her own.
According to the University of Texas at San Antonio, Pett nearly lost her legs and an arm to arterial blood clots.
Pett underwent several surgeries to fix the clots, which only seemed to leave her weaker. Doctors told the veteran she may never walk again.
Today, Pett is not only walking, she’s one of the 25 finalists in the Ms. Veteran America 2020 competition.
“I really want to challenge the stereotype that women with scars, especially in the social media era, cannot be considered beautiful or glamorous,” Pett said. “I want to show by competing that it’s not necessarily true.”
Pett wears braces that help her stand and walk. But it was the inspiring stories of her fellow veterans that give her strength. She works with homeless female veterans through the nonprofit organization Final Salute, helping those women and their children find housing. As a single mother who has overcome many of the same obstacles, it is not hard for Pett to empathize with these veterans.
“Since I started my journey, it has been very important to me to advocate for our homeless women veterans because I was once homeless and felt like there was no one to help me,” Pett said. “My education at UTSA will help make me the best advocate I can be for our female veterans and for Final Salute.”
After Pett graduates in 2021 she intends to pursue a master’s degree in hospital administration. She says her daughter is her motivation to finish school.
“I decided to finish school to be a good example for my daughter, myself and others who have gone through similar experiences as me,” Pett said. “The reason I pursued my degree was because I wanted to help others after my medical retirement from the Air Force. Helping people is my passion.”
If Pett wins the Ms. Veteran America title on Oct. 11, she intends to give her winnings to Final Salute.
Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.