Miss Teen Texas International Savannah Wahrer encourages everyone to honor veterans all year long

Savannah veterans

In honor of this past Veterans Day, I attended a fundraiser for Honor Flight DFW at the Texas Region Sports Car Club of America.  After taking honorary drives, we were all presented with “trophies.” I had so much fun meeting Mr. Perdue and Mr. Gentry, two great American heroes.

While Veterans Day is a time to honor those among us who were willing to make the ultimate commitment to serve our country, I believe it should not be limited to one day.

There are many easy ways for you to show appreciation for our Veterans year-round:

1) Just say something simple like, “Thank you for your service to our country.” Many Veterans have never actually been told that before and it’s such an easy thing to do.
2) Pay it forward with a random act of kindness and pay for a veteran’s meal the next time you are out to eat or visiting your favorite coffee house.
3) Make a new friend with a Veteran.  Talk to them and ask them about themselves and their families.  Unfortunately, 22 Veterans a day commit suicide due to PTSD and depression from their experiences during wartime.  You’ll never really know if those few kind words you might speak to a Veteran that you meet may just give them a reason to stay alive for another day.
4) Donate some money and volunteer your time to the USO, Wounded Warrior Foundation, 22Kill, Honor Flight, or any of the other many worthy Veteran organizations.
5) Visit your area’s National Cemetery and place flowers and flags on the graves of some of our Veterans who paid the ultimate price and lost their lives during war.
6) Go to a retirement home and spend a few minutes getting to know some Veterans who would love to share their stories with you.
7) Prepare some care packages and send them to some active duty soldiers who are far from home in a foreign land and would appreciate a small gift from home.
8) If you know a Veteran, make it a special occasion to take them out to eat and tell them thank you for what they did for you and your family. Make sure you get the story of their service written down.
9) If you are at the age where you can babysit, offer to volunteer and babysit for free for a Veteran, or for an active-duty military spouse who would appreciate some time to themselves since their loved one is away on duty and they are home alone.
10) Make a promise to yourself to do one nice thing for a Veteran this holiday seasons that you wouldn’t have normally done.  Make that season special for a Veteran.
I would like to take a moment to say a special “Thank You” to my Great Grandfather Pop Wahrer for his service during WWII, and my Grandpa Nick for his service during Vietnam.  I wish I could also say “Thank You” to my family member Veterans who have already passed away like my Grandpa Richard and Great Grandfather Pop Manser – I will meet them someday.  There are so many reasons to be thankful for what we have in this great country and for the protection that our Veterans have provided for us over the years.  Please be sure to show a Veteran your appreciation not only on Veterans Day, but also throughout the year.
Happy holidays, everyone!

Savannah Wahrer

Miss Teen Texas International 2015

Veterans Day is Very Special for Mrs. International Farabe’ Algor

As you know, veterans are very important to me. So important that they became the heart of my platform, “Beyond Glory: Supporting Our Veterans.” I had the great honor of speaking at the American Legion’s Salute to Veterans this past Saturday, and wanted to share some of my speech with you.  It was from the heart, and I tell you — it was impossible to get through without shedding a tear or two! Thank goodness for tissues!

I started by telling the crowd a little about how veterans impact my family’s life:

Hello everyone my name is Farabe’ Algor and I am your Mrs. International 2015. Though my title is very universal, I actually live right here in North Texas. I am a Texan. I am also an extremely grateful American. Those are also some titles that apply to me. The title I am most proud of, however, is that of mom. What consumes most of my day is that I am also a mother of three small children under the age of 4.

And as you can imagine, I am in the business of bedtime stories. My oldest two are twin boys, and they like stories about dinosaurs and rocket ships. My youngest is a little girl who is 2, and she prefers stories of princesses. I’ve also been telling them stories about soldiers and, more specifically, stories about how their very own daddy is an Army Ranger veteran.

As a mother, as a grateful American and the wife of a veteran, I also feel like it’s important to tell my kids an entirely different kind of story, the story of America. I want my children growing up knowing that the stories and experiences of our veterans are the very heart of the classic legend that is the United State of America.

Then, I had the honor of telling the stories of two distinguished veterans — that of my husband, Justin, and my good friend and WWII veteran, C.B. Perdue.  In closing, I asked the crowd and the veterans in attendance to help with a very important mission: preserving and sharing the legacy of our country in the stories of our veterans:

In closing, I would like to ask the veterans here to help us maintain this legacy that we call America. If you are a veteran, please raise your hand. Thank you. I have a mission for all of you — one final, very important mission. SHARE YOUR STORY. Write your stories down. Write about your service, write about the service of those around you. Document the dedication and the sacrifice. Tell your children, tell your grandchildren, and tell them again. Ask them to record you. Understand that this is not just for you, but also for your country. Our kids will never fully understand how special America is, how high the price of freedom is, and how important it is to honor and continue this legacy unless they know how we have all arrived here.

As moms, we all hope that good stories end with sweet dreams. In the stories of our veterans live our American dream. To the stars of our favorite stories, we thank you. We can never repay your bravery, your courage and your sacrifice. But I do hope it lives on in all of our children.

Thank you, God bless, and God bless America.

Today, I ask you, my Texas friends, to thank a veteran.  Also, please look for ways that you, your family, your company, or your school can come together to help the veterans who need us.

To all of our veterans — today, and every day, we are able to live the way we want because of your sacrifice. Thank you.

Until the mission is complete,

Farabe’ Algor

Mrs. International 2015

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Here I am speaking to the crowd alongside one of my star veterans, my good friend and WWII veteran, C.B. Perdue.  I was so honored to speak at this event!

Here I am speaking to the crowd alongside one of my star veterans, my good friend and WWII veteran, C.B. Perdue. I was so honored to speak at this event!

Here I am with the organizer of Salute to Veterans, Mike Miller, a distinguished veteran and American Legion former post commander (left), and the Mayor of The Colony, Joe McCourry (right), who read a proclamation honoring veterans during the ceremony.

Here I am with the organizer of Salute to Veterans, Mike Miller, a distinguished veteran and American Legion former post commander (left), and the Mayor of The Colony, Joe McCourry (right), who read a proclamation honoring veterans during the ceremony.

Miss International Elise Banks talks about conquering fears

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If you were to tell me years ago that I would be doing all the public speaking that I have been doing as Miss International, I would have laughed in your face! You see, the whole reason why I started competing in pageants at the age of 15, was to break out of my shell as “Little Shy Elise”! Although I have accomplished that goal, I am still considered an introvert. I am entirely more comfortable in smaller settings than larger ones. So that is why I have actually surprised myself when I spoke at both the NAMI Gulf Coast and the NAMI Texas Professional Conferences last month. Not only was I speaking in front of hundreds of people, but I was also speaking to men and women who have been in the mental health field for decades. Talk about intimidating!

What helped me during the conferences, as well as other large social settings that I have been involved in is to first, know your audience. When you know the types of people who will be at the event, it helps you prepare for the conversations you could be having. Make sure to have a few “go-to” topics that you can talk about when you are conversing with people you don’t know. I typically discuss latest events in the news or my platform!

Secondly, be aware and mindful of how others may perceive you. When I was preparing for the presentations that I was going to give at the conferences, I knew very well that my older audience (doctors and therapists who are established in their careers) may not fully listen to someone who is still in their twenties! But I decided to use that as a motivator to make my presentation more interesting. I used new technological ways of presenting a PowerPoint, and I used an interactive approach to the presentation that plays to what my generation is known for. To my surprise, I received a lot of positive feedback from my presentations! If you know what your potential weaknesses are, you can spend time turning them into strengths!

Finally, make sure to reward yourself for the hard work you put into conquering your fear. Although I still have improvements to make, I still congratulated myself for taking a bold step in a very intimidating situation. Conquering a fear is never easy, but it must be done in order to fully be the person God made you to be!

Wishing you success as you conquer your fears!

All my Texas love,

Elise Banks
Miss International 2015

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