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    Florida National Guard Soldier, Former Ms. California Aims to Inspire

    Florida Army National Guard Cadet performs maintenance on military signal equipment

    Photo By Sgt. Michael Baltz | Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) Cadet Christina Meredith of the 146th...... read more read more

    JACKSONVILLE, FL, UNITED STATES

    02.10.2018

    Story by Sgt. Michael Baltz 

    107th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Feb. 11, 2018 (Story by: Sgt. Michael Baltz) – Since 1987, Americans have entered the month of March with the focus of honoring the role that women have played in history. Today, inspirational women pursue all manner of professional ambitions, including the beauty pageant industry, child advocacy, and the profession of arms.

    Cadet Christina Meredith, a student and reserve officer training candidate at the University of North Florida, has set her sights on earning her commission in the Florida Army National Guard. Not your ordinary cadet, Meredith, at 31, walked an unusual path, growing up in the foster care system and becoming homeless prior to winning the Ms. California crown.

    “After I won Ms. California in 2013, I really wanted to utilize that moment to set up another platform, which is to reform foster care,” said Meredith. “Since 2013, I have been vocally advocating awareness for the foster care crisis, because it is a national crisis. Having half-a-million children in foster care as wards of the state government, which is underfunded, is an atrocity.”

    Meredith is in the final year and half of her undergraduate curriculum studying Political Science and Middle Eastern Studies with the ultimate goal of getting into politics. Her goal is to make lasting impacts on a broad scale for foster care children and women.

    “I do a lot of advocacy for women’s rights, especially for sexual assault,” said Meredith. “I have experienced these things in my life, and I choose to speak out.”

    Meredith juggles her life’s obligations with enthusiasm and determination, and stays busy with her advocacy work and promoting her memoir, Cindergirl, which delves into the challenges she faced growing up.

    While her personal struggles have given her the determination to speak out and advocate to affect change, the military has also given her the resolve to forge new paths.

    Meredith is currently assigned to the 146th Expeditionary Signal Battalion in Jacksonville, Florida, where she takes on operational functions that support the execution of training and missions of a 700-person unit.

    “She was a big asset during Hurricane Irma,” said First Sgt. Warren Erdman, the 146th Headquarters Company senior enlisted member. “She was able to assist with tracking personnel and when the Colonel came in and needed a report, he was given good, true and accurate information.”

    Meredith takes every opportunity to mentor others by sharing her life experiences. She also plans on recognizing her female ROTC counterparts during Women’s History month and does what she can to partner with her fellow cadets.

    “She is a very well prepared person, so if something goes wrong, she is right there, ready to assist,” said Cdt. Shyan Christie, a fellow ROTC cadet. “Even when she isn’t feeling her best, she kept her spirits up and stays positive.”

    Meredith has been focused since an early age. She identified what course she needed to follow to be successful, and attributes her success to her personal challenges and inner drive. She also gives strong credit to her country.

    “This country gives us the opportunity to dream,” Meredith said. “The backbone of our nation is the American dream and you can choose to change your outcome even if you get a bad hand. So I decided to rise from the pain and poverty and work to make tangible changes for my nation and community.”

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 02.10.2018
    Date Posted: 02.16.2018 14:32
    Story ID: 266362
    Location: JACKSONVILLE, FL, US 

    Web Views: 1,862
    Downloads: 0

    PUBLIC DOMAIN