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Saturday, January 23, 2021

Decatur educator goes the distance in fight against homelessness for female veterans

Credit: WAAY ABC Huntsville, AL
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Decatur educator goes the distance in fight against homelessness for female veterans
Decatur educator goes the distance in fight against homelessness for female veterans

Decatur educator goes the distance in fight against homelessness for female veterans

Leading by example.

A north alabama educator is competing for a national title... she is using her military experience and work in the classroom to help others.

As waay 31's marie waxel explains, it's an opportunity for her to continue to serve beyond the uniform.

"i've been a third-grade teacher, a fifth-grade teacher a music teacher an assistant principal a reading specialist."

Now, mary ann hotaling oversees the curriculum for the english language learner students at decatur city school's excel center.

Mw "does it take you back to your early years?"

"absolutely i'm taken back to all the wonderful teachers i had i was very fortunate to have amazing teachers growing up" "i remember walking into my kindergarten class not knowing a lick of english my father is from portugal and my mother is from brazil so we spoke portuguese at home."

From an early age, she learned how to adapt and overcome life's challenges.

"if you're willing to put in the work and stay at it and be consistent, you can achieve whatever you want to achieve, i genuinely do believe that."

After college she earned a commission into the u.s. army.

"it's my way of giving back to our country, everything this country has given me and my family."

Serving 5 years in the army medical service corps.

Nats now, the retired army captain is leading the charge against another battle.

"it could be someone you know" the fight against homelessness for female veterans.

"it's the fastest growing population of homelessness in america."

Currently there's more than 55-thousand homeless female veterans-- a number only expected to rise in the wake of the ongoing pandemic.

"we may be sick of covid-19 but covid-19 is not sick of us yet and because of that we're going to have more homelessness in our country, not just homeless female veterans, homelessness as a whole."

Which is why she felt compelled to step forward, and advocate for her fellow warriors-- and the chance to be named ms. veteran american.

Continuing her service, beyond the uniform.

"for me this is a job interview, to be the national advocate for these female homeless veterans."

"i'm ruck marching for our sister warriors."

Raising funds for finalsalute.

A group that helps homeless female veterans get back on their feet.

"for every $25 during this fundraiser, i'm ruck marching a mile for these female veterans" a 50 mile journey, carrying the load for those who struggle to stand on their own.

"the struggle and the pain and the exhausting i'm feeling right now is nothing compared to these amazing women that are struggling to make it every day, many of them with small children."

Encouraging others to continue to fight for their dreams whether it's in the classroom or beyond.

"i want them to know there's hope at the end of the day, there's hope at the end of this chapter, it's not the whole book it's not the novel it's one small part and we are here to help" mw, waay 31 news.

Hotaling will complete her 50-mile march tomorrow - with a 10-mile march beginning and ending at the "huntsville madison county veterans memorial" on monroe street.

For details on how you can join or donate to her cause... go to our website, it is waay t-v dot com.

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