In honor of Veterans Month, BMW of North America and MADE Magazine celebrated four honorable military veterans this past Sunday in Washington D.C., for 44th national “Women Pay It 4Ward” program which first launched in 2015. The philanthropic brunch is part of the intimate event series that recognizes women across the country who are working diligently to make an impact both professionally and civically.
“We are honored to celebrate some of the women military heroes that help keep our country strong during National Veterans & Families Month,” said Kevin Williams, Head of Multicultural Marketing at BMW Group. “BMW of North America’s ongoing efforts to champion outstanding, civic minded women around the country is one of the company’s proudest endeavors & I’m humbled to be aligned with such a great mission.”
Hosted by Deshauna Barber, the first active member in the military to be crowned Miss USA, the ceremony celebrated the tireless efforts of:
Jas Boothe, a Chicago native, disabled army veteran, cancer survivor, entrepreneur and speaker who gave more than 16 years of service to USA. Boothe is the president and founder of Final Salute Inc., the only DC area organization that provides shelter for homeless women Veterans and their children. Due to her tireless efforts, Final Salute Inc. has raised more than 2 million dollars and supported over 3,600 women veterans and children.
Kelly M. Cruz, a Senior Human Resources Specialist with the Department of State, Bureau of Human Resources. Cruz began her career with the United Way/Capital Area in Austin, Texas where she served as the Homeless Services Director coordinating bridge services. In 2002, Kelly enlisted in the U.S. Army and served four years in Kandahar, Afghanistan to support Operation Enduring Freedom. Currently, Cruz is a member of the Jr. League of Northern Virginia, an organization committed to developing the potential of women and community improvement.
Mary Lowe Mayhugh retired as a Colonel from Active Duty in 2016 with nearly 37 years of service to our nation. Her career spans multiple countries and operations, culminating with strategic level assignments with Department of Defense (DoD) focusing on military and family readiness and building collaborative cross-agency relationships to tackle our nation’s complex issues. She’s contributed to every major operation since the Cold War including domestic operations for Y2K, 9/11 and Katrina. Currently, she is serving as the director of MITRE, providing strategic level insight and program support on a wide variety of projects across Department of Defense and the Veteran Administration.
Ginger Miller, a White House Champion of Change for Women Veterans is a Navy veteran, the founder and CEO of Women Veterans Interactive and currently serves as a Special Government Employee of the Advisory Committee on Minority Veterans at U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. In 2011, Ginger started Women Veterans Interactive, a division of John 14:2, Inc. that is dedicated to serving and supporting women veterans, while meeting them at their points of need through Advocacy, Empowerment, Interaction, Outreach, and Unification. To date, it has helped more 1200 women and has partnered with Amazon and Starbucks among other companies.
Each woman has a powerful story of strength, resilience and perseverance that left everyone in the room teary-eyed and inspired.
During the “Women Who Pay It 4ward” event, honorees & guests are also invited to participate in BMW’s “Drive For A Cause” initiative. For every test drive a donation will be to SWAN–a 501c3 that supports, defends and empowers today’s service women and women veterans of all eras, through groundbreaking advocacy initiatives and innovative community programs.
Watch the recap of the event below!