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Image: Spc. Maura Spence, a Katy, Texas native and an intelligence analyst assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, displays her crown and sash after winning first place in the Miss Colorado 2021 pageant, June 8, 2021. Two reasons for Spence’s drive to compete in Miss Colorado and Miss America are to spread awareness for mental health and to keep the memory and dreams of her departed sister alive. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Matthew Marsilia) (Photo Credit: Spc. Matthew Marsilia)

Spc. Maura Spence, a Katy, Texas native and an intelligence analyst with 23rd Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, won first place in the Miss Colorado 2021 pageant, June 8, 2021.

Now known as Spc. Colorado by her unit’s executive officer, Spence is scheduled to attend the Miss America 2022 pageant in December 2021 at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut.

“Miss America is a two-week process,” explains Spence. “The first week is mostly rehearsals and taping interviews for the live show. The second week consists of private interviews, preliminary competitions, on-stage talent competition, red carpet and off-stage interviews.”

Throughout the entire process, Spence feels, “very lucky to have a chain of command that is so supportive.”

According to 1st Lt. Andrew Looss, her unit’s intelligence officer-in-charge, “Spc. Spence has a fire in her that makes her very proactive. She is a self-starter who is able to get tasks done with minimal oversight. Her responsibilities are far greater than what is expected from a specialist, and she exceeds them with ease. She is a team player and brings great energy to the battalion and the intelligence section.”

Two reasons for Spence’s drive to compete in Miss Colorado and Miss America is to spread awareness for mental health and to keep the memory and dreams of her departed sister alive.

“My older brother, Sam, who’s seven years older than I am, is autistic,” shares Spence. “Through the platform I’ve gained from competing in the Miss America pageant, I’ve been encouraging people to accept people with all sorts of disabilities.”

Additionally, Spence’s sister passed away in 2015, and was a “huge fan of Miss America.”

“I made her a promise at her funeral — ‘One day, I’m going to take you to Miss America with me,'” Spence said. “Now that I’ve won Miss Colorado and am heading to Miss America, I feel like I’m fulfilling that promise to her.”

Spence and the 4th Infantry Division are hoping for a victory, but Spence maintains a humble perspective: “If I don’t win Miss America, I’ll still be Miss Colorado. Either way, I feel like I win if I get to represent my state and my country.”

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(Image courtesy of Maura Spence Facebook)

In a June 9th, 2021 Facebook post Ms. Spence wrote “Colorado, I LOVE YOU! I’m still struggling to put into words how I feel. After years of working, praying, and dreaming of this day, last night I was chosen as Miss Colorado 2021. I am SO excited to represent this incredible state for the next year and to compete at the 100th anniversary of Miss America this December! To every single person that has posted, commented, messaged, and called me in the last day – I am eternally grateful for your encouragement and support (and patience as I respond to everyone)!This organization has helped me to grow over the last 8 years in ways I couldn’t see until I came out the other end. The BEST part: it will continue to push me as I serve Colorado for the next year. Thank you, thank you, thank you to each of YOU who has cheered me on. We’re going to Miss America!”

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