Ms. Wheelchair USA 2016
Crowning Glory. Photo by Nick and Lauren Photography
Sylvia Longmire, a drug war analyst, claims the title
Summer has been a mind-blowing season so far for Sylvia Longmire, recently crowned Ms. Wheelchair USA 2016.
With plans to drive to Idaho, Wyoming and Montana later this month to see Yellowstone National Park, the native Floridian has been amazed with the recent and upcoming events.
“It’s still hard to wrap my head around," Longmire says.
Photo by Nick and Lauren Photography
Diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), the former Special Agent in the Air Force Office of Special Investigations was medically retired in 2005 and became a senior intelligence analyst working on border security in California. She credits her transition into civilian life to the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) and Lake Nona VA Hospital in Orlando, Fla.
“My life would not be as easy without PVA’s help and encouragement," Longmire says.
Deciding to start her own consulting firm, Longmire became a drug war analyst specializing in the Drug Cartel of Mexico. Her extensive knowledge of drug wars led to being recognized as an expert on the topic for extensive interviews by news outlets, including Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, and BBC Radio. She was also regularly consulting producers for National Geographic Channel’s Border Wars and Drugs Inc. series.
In addition to Longmire’s media appearances, her freelance writing work has been published in the American Bar Association’s National Security Report and the US Army Counter Terrorism Center’s The Sentinel. She has also authored two books. Her first book titled, Cartel: The Coming Invasion of Mexico's Drug Wars, ranks in the top 150 books in the category of International & World Politics Arms Control. Her second book titled, Border Insecurity: Why Big Money, Fences, and Drones Aren't Making Us Safer, was published in 2014.
Being in the media spotlight for her work on homeland security inspired Longmire to become an advocate for the disabled community. She understood the struggles of being a parent with a disability as a single mother of two boys and decided to show them as her platform for Ms. Wheelchair USA. The positive response of the community to the competition has made winning the pageant a truly surreal experience.
“I never imagined being in a pageant at age 41 competing against such amazing people, let alone being crowned,” Longmire says. “Winning this title opens doors for my platform.”
Longmire plans to stay busy with her title of Ms. Wheelchair USA in addition to traveling around the world and her career as an independent consultant and business owner of a jewelry Etsy store called AZ Copper Creations. She also recently started a nonprofit for her platform called the PreJax foundation that supplies scholarships to students who have MS or have parents with MS for college.
For Longmire, the biggest lesson she learned is that it is never too late to do what you love.
About Ms. Wheelchair USA:
Founded in 1999, The Ms. Wheelchair USA pageant based program celebrates the accomplishments of women with disabilities. The weeklong event hosts numerous activities, competitions, appearances and community service before the live competition of top finalists.
Applications will be available later this month for Ms. Wheelchair USA 2017.
Ms. Wheelchair USA 2016
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