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    Pa. National Guard veteran crowned Ms. Pennsylvania Senior America

    Pa. National Guard veteran crowned Ms. Pennsylvania Senior America

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Zane Craig | Joann Tresco, Pennsylvania National Guard veteran and current risk reduction...... read more read more



    Story by Staff Sgt. Zane Craig 

    Joint Force Headquarters - Pennsylvania National Guard

    FORT INDIANTOWN GAP, Pa. – A Pennsylvania National Guard veteran and current risk reduction coordinator for the Service Member and Family Support division was recently crowned Ms. Pennsylvania Senior America.

    Joann Tresco, who served 34 years as a paralegal in the 28th Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 28th Infantry Division, was announced as the winner on June 26 in Hummelstown, Pa., following a virtual competition. She will compete virtually for the title of Ms. National Senior America in August.

    “Selfless service is my way of life and my life’s passion,” said Tresco. “Selfless service is putting others before yourself and helping them in times of need, and that can be as simple as listening to someone or as complicated as being with them in their dying hours. It’s done without any expectation of return. It’s what Soldiers do.”

    Selfless service, one of the seven Army values, was the centerpiece of Tresco’s statement of values, which she submitted to the judges along with a video of her talent: ballroom dance.

    Tresco only began to embrace dance as a pastime in 2009 during a deployment to Iraq. Salsa dancing was a popular activity on her base which she said kept everyone sane. When she returned to Pennsylvania, she continued to pursue dancing and now owns the ballroom where she learned to dance, PA DanceSport Ballroom in Hummelstown.

    Mindy Hofsass, a member of Tresco’s staff, choreographed a solo dance routine to Michael W. Smith’s song “There She Stands,” which Tresco submitted to the virtual competition as her talent.

    “When I found this ballroom I also found a dance community, and I worked with an instructor that I physically connected with, which helped me reconnect, trust people and find a social community where I felt safe,” said Tresco.

    According to Tresco, many female veterans self-isolate when they return to civilian life as she initially did.

    “When you come home as a woman, nobody knows how to talk to you, very few people want to hear what has happened to you,” she said. “They may care, but they don’t know how to respond to you.”

    Tresco is part of the first generation of women to integrate with formerly male-only combat and combat-adjacent roles in the military. She was part of the first gender-integrated basic training course at Fort Dix, New Jersey, in 1980. Indeed, female veterans have only had the experience of returning from war since the first Gulf War 30 years ago, and existing veterans organizations were not prepared to help with female-specific issues.

    “I came back with PTSD, not because anybody shot at me, but because of what the separation does and the disparity between life here and life there,” said Tresco. “You can’t un-see what war does.”

    As Ms. Pennsylvania Senior America -- and perhaps as Ms. National Senior America -- Tresco said she hopes to increase the visibility and relevance of Pennsylvania’s approximately 60,000 female veterans.

    Tresco already works hard on behalf of veterans as a member of the governor’s advisory committee for female veterans and is on the board of Veterans Outreach of Pennsylvania, an organization building a tiny home village for unhoused veterans in Harrisburg.

    As Ms. Pennsylvania Senior America, Tresco can multiply the impact of her work for underserved veterans through increased visibility in the community. She will likely be asked to appear at various functions for organizations that advocate for senior citizens, women, and veterans.

    “I hope to shine a light on the beauty, the resilience and the strength of female veterans,” said Tresco.

    Tresco deployed overseas to Bosnia in 2002-03 and to Iraq in 2009-10 and said she was inspired to service by family members who served in World War II.

    "Their sacrifices moved my spirit and directed my life," she said. "Now as a veteran and as Ms. PA Senior America, I seek to inspire younger generations to selflessly serve their communities."



    Date Taken: 07.01.2021
    Date Posted: 07.01.2021 10:17
    Story ID: 400188
    Hometown: HUMMELSTOWN, PA, US

    Web Views: 2,332
    Downloads: 0