I am so proud to be representing the married women of the State of Georgia. I will be the voice for all not only during the year of my reign but on a continual basis ever after and living my authentic life. I have already begun building an army of change, hope and inspiration. I will take this amazing opportunity and continue embracing my communities giving my time and service to others while creating happiness. I am proof that through positive contributions and inspired actions the most improbable dreams do come true.
Born and raised in rural Kansas allowed me to not only acquire a strong work ethic but instilled my love for animals. I loved everything that living in the “country” had to offer. I was happy to bale hay, milk cows or goats and even gather goose and chicken eggs. I was not born into this style of living but given it by chance. Because of abuse and neglect, my siblings and I were removed from our biological parents. I, being the youngest of four, at age three was placed in multiple foster homes until parental rights were permanently severed by the State of Kansas and a wonderful Foster family took me in at age six where I stayed until I was 18 years of age, graduated high school and called them Mom and Dad. A true blessing in disguise!
Excelling in academics and obtaining honor roll status was crucial for me. However, athletics also played a very important role in my life. Teaching me sportsmanship, how to be a leader, a mentor, a team builder, self-determined and driven. I earned multiple College Scholarships in basketball, volleyball and track and had a love for playing softball in the summer.
Success in my life came in many forms both personal and in business. Getting married and becoming a mother to three beautiful children was most rewarding.
My husband Jeffrey Swanson and I were married in October 2003 in beautiful Colorado Springs, Colorado. Our family resided in Colorado from 1998 until 2011 when my husband received a job offer/transfer to Utah. Residency in Utah was short lived. Once more, my husband was offered another job opportunity, this time in Georgia where we currently reside in Gwinnett County just Northeast of Atlanta.
My passion for competing in the Mrs. State Pageants began with my 17 year old daughter Aubrey wanting to compete in mother-daughter pageants. However, just as soon as the desire to compete came, it was gone. My beautiful daughter was tragically killed in an auto accident in December 2008. As a “Promise Kept” I was determined to continue this journey and in her memory began developing “Beyond Grief – The Journey to Healing” organization and became the voice for married women everywhere.
In 2008, I made a choice to be a homemaker and a stay at home mom to my two teenagers. I have been a licensed Real Estate Broker since 2002 currently holding an active Georgia Real Estate Broker/Owner License as an Independent Firm and am a Distributor for “It Works” Body/Facial Wraps and Nutritional Supplements.
I have enjoyed leading a healthy lifestyle. This lifestyle includes exercise and balanced nutrition. I stay fit through my love of hiking, running, Core Strength Training (CXWORX), Body Pump (Les Mills), Cross-fit and P90X as well as the Manitou Springs, CO Incline.
My community involvement allows me to provide service that begins with Foster Care & Teen Advocacy. I am proud to be a Board Member and National Director of Public Affairs to help Women and Women Veterans through the SHEROES United Organization (Sheroesunited.org) and (militarysheros.org), including: MST (Military Service Trauma), PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder); Go Red for Women’s Heart Disease, Signature Chef Gala (March of Dimes); Festival of Trees (Primary Children’s Hospital); Wounded Warriors; Veterans Wheelchair Games; Joshua’s Station (Adopt-A-Family); Rock Bottom Foundation (Miracle on Tejon Street (Children’s Miracle Network); Gorilla Design – Disaster Relief Housing for National/International Development, ASPCA (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Newborn Hope (Annual fundraiser raise for the advancement of maternal, fetal, and neonatal healthcare); Advocate for Graduated Driver’s License Law, Alive at 25, Don’t Drive Stupid and Drowsy Driving.
My communication talents provide me the enjoyment of Public Speaking, Leadership, Listening, Team Building, Social and Mentoring Skills. My creative talents have allowed me to be successful in Interior Decorating, Landscape Design, Singing, Fashion and Organizing. My natural cooking and entertaining talents have made me the designated Chef, Caterer and Hostess for my family, friends and neighbors. I have a passion for learning history while traveling to new locations such as London and Paris in 2005 and in 2010, 2011 & 2012 have had the opportunity to visit Italy and Germany.
The woman that I admire most is my Great Grandma Georgia Ellen Cooper – 1882-1995. I admire her for her faith in God, her strength, determination and zest for life, all of which helped me through the tragic death of my oldest daughter Aubrey as well as my best friend and brother, Michael. My Grandma’s father died from an accident before she was born and her mother, just 49 years old, passed away due to pneumonia. Grandma Cooper sadly outlived 9 of her 11 children and lived to the age of 113! Now that is strength!
As Mrs. Georgia America, I will continue my advocacy to adults and teens for safe driving. This advocacy includes education and re-education through the Graduated Driver’s License Law, Don’t Drive Stupid, Alive at 25 and Drowsy Driving programs. I hope to make these programs mandatory in our high schools along with our adult, senior and elderly licensure which would include assisting in the modification of drivers’ license laws. I will also provide positive development and reinforcement to teens through available resources for crisis intervention and counseling. If resources are not available, assist in creating them in a way that is appropriate to the particular circumstance.
I had mentioned previously that based on my personal experience as an abused and neglected child placed in State Custody Foster Care for 15 years, I am compelled to bring awareness of the fact that the “Foster Care” programs and their desire to meet the needs of and give support to the families that are willing to take care of children of all ages who are in need of a safe, loving home is immense.
There are currently 650,000 children in Foster Care within the United States alone and not near enough Foster families in which to provide care. Children are placed in foster care for many reasons. Not only because the children or their parents are making poor choices, not because of drug or social problems, but for reasons out of their control. A weakened economy hasn’t helped this situation either. I am a true success story and I want to help increase children in Foster Care’s chances for success in life. I will continue to attend events, answer questions and inform communities about how they can help this solvable cause. The young adults need to feel that someone cares about them and their need for love and support. As in my case, young people in foster care especially need nurturing adults on their side because their own families are in crisis and unable to care for them. My campaign will raise awareness about the urgent needs of these young people and encourage citizens from all walks of life to get involved – as foster or adoptive parents, volunteers, mentors or in other ways. With the help of our communities, children and teens will either be able at some point to be reunited safely with their parents, be cared for by relatives or even be adopted by loving families. If more states provided support and services to help families cope in early times of crisis, many children would not have to enter foster care at all. Help from advocates, child welfare professionals, elected officials and support groups around the country has increased and the total number of children in foster care has decreased over recent years. More help is needed. We can “Change a Lifetime” together! They are seeking someone to take “action”. That person is me! I want to do my part!
Now, a few unique and interesting things about me would be that for three years my family and I assisted home sellers by listing, Professionally Staging and showing their Luxury homes with the hopes of saving their homes from foreclosure. I had the opportunity to work in multiple environments on the International Space Station a joint project with NASA, BOEING and McDonnell Douglas in Clear Lake, Texas. I am a “Travel Companion” for the ill and elderly and lastly, but not limited to, I am a non-denominational Ordained Minister. Performing mostly Wedding Ceremonies, it fills my heart to be a part of another journey…a couple beginning their new lives together.
I want to be remembered as a legacy of knowledge, compassion and an advocate for Beyond Grief – The Journey to Healing. As Mrs. Georgia America, I will use my voice for those suffering from grief and leave a positive impact on a State, National and even International level. As this kind of leader, I plan to make a difference! I would love to be remembered for my smile and laughter, even during difficult times. I want to reach others through my unconditional love for those that share my pain. I want to be remembered as one who gave my time and service to others, creating happiness through my positive contributions and inspired actions. I hope to leave a legacy of love, especially to Aubrey for “A Promise Kept”. I view the obstacles in my life as “VEHICLES” to new destinations – that new destination is Mrs. Georgia America, Mrs. America and even Mrs. World.
Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to tell you a bit more about myself and the life happenings or events that have made me the light hearted, passionate, humorous, faithful, intellectual, dedicated and self-motivated woman, wife, mother and friend that I am today!
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