FORT KNOX, Ky. (WAVE) - A survivor of child abuse, a beauty queen, an advocate, an author and an American soldier. A trailblazer celebrated her graduation on Sunday at Fort Knox.
Christina Meredith stood tall next to her fellow cadets and shared her story of how she’s not only endured adversity but turned it into strength.
It’s not every day a beauty queen turns in her crown for kevlar.
“I worked hard to get here, took me years to get to this place," Meredith said.
That place was Fort Knox. Meet Lt. Christina Meredith, if you haven’t seen her already. She’s been on network news, written a best seller and yes, she was also crowned Miss California.
But if you ask her, that’s just part of her story.
“A girl like me coming from poverty and abuse and all of the things that I endured should not be where I am," Meredith said.
Meredith spent years bouncing around in foster care until she aged out and became homeless. She credits the one thing that was constant in her life, Junior ROTC - waking up every morning at 5 a.m. and having the support of her teachers.
“JROTC saved my life, hands down, because it instilled in me a discipline that I have till this day," Meredith explained.
That discipline carried her through the Army’s training and through a grueling 37-day advanced camp.
“It’s a resiliency that it takes to accomplish this type of school in the army, can really teach you a lot about yourself," Meredith said.
She wrote her memoir “Cinder Girl” while she lived in her car, with no where to go.
Meredith now advocates for policy changes to foster care, while throwing self pity out the window, and, well, marching on.
“I was not going out without a fight," Meredith said.
WAVE 3 News extends congratulations to Meredith and to her fellow cadets who graduated.