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HERE YOU GO: Brielle Walls augtographs pictures for Debbie Clason and Ann-Marie Bailey. Friends and family gave a party for Walls before she leaves for the Mrs. America Pageant.

Brielle Walls hopes to earn her third “Mrs” title in one year in September.

Her first, and most important, “Mrs.” title came Oct. 15, 2005, when she married her childhood friend, Scott Walls. Six months later, she won the title of Mrs. Indiana. Wednesday, she leaves to compete for the title of Mrs. America.

She said, though, being Mrs. America would be more than having a crown and a title — it will give her an opportunity to encourage married women and to spotlight the community service that so many married women give.

“Fifty-two million married women in the United States need a role model. It’s hard to be pulled in all directions with work and family and so forth,” she said. “To know there are women out there putting their community service before themselves, I think that is motivating to know there are other people going through that exact same thing.”

If she wins the title, Walls hopes to promote the value of being a life-long learner, something close to her heart since she started working for University of Phoenix.

“Education for a lifetime should be promoted to women throughout the United States. Personal financial literacy skills, business etiquette and understanding the importance of the national anthem, those are things that aren’t taught in a classroom,” she said. “Unfortunately, not all women have a role model to look to to teach them those skills. That’s what I would like to do as Mrs. America.”

Walls began promoting personal financial literacy after working in banking shortly after she graduated from Indiana University Bloomington. She also worked in real estate, and said many people had no idea the impact credit decisions made on their future. She now serves as executive director of Indiana LifeSmarts, which works with students to teach financial literacy.

Her work with promoting “The Star-Spangled Banner” began after she became Mrs. Indiana, because it is the national issue for the Mrs. America program.

Walls recently sang the national anthem at the Village Oaks assisted living community in Greenwood, and met several U.S. military veterans.

“It was very moving to see a group of people that the national anthem means so much to them. They were all so sweet. I don’t have a lot of elderly people in my family and don’t get to be around elderly people much. To be around them, and realize they have so much knowledge and so much wisdom to share, really was an honor,” Walls said.

Her previous pageant experience includes two trips to the Miss Indiana pageant, in the Miss America system. She finished third runner-up to Miss Indiana 2005, Susan Guilkey, as Miss Hoosier Heartland.

Walls’ community service began before her pageant career, as she volunteered with organizations that provided therapeutic horseback riding to children with disabilities. She thinks, as a married woman, using her skills to help people in her community is even more important than before. Walls said the Mrs. Indiana title and Mrs. America title can open doors for her to serve as a public speaker, “to be in the limelight to serve our community and our country as a servant, as a philanthropist.”.

Even though she is a newlywed, she feels she can serve as a role model to married women.

“I have the ability to relate to married women of all ages, to serve as a representative for the 52 million married women in the United States. It doesn’t matter if a woman has been married 10 years or 30 years, I think they can all remember the first year of marriage and the excitement of starting a life with the man they love. I’ve just been married nearly 11 months and it has truly been an amazing experience. I feel I am so blessed to have realized by sharing my life with my best friend as my husband, my life has become so much better.”

The Mrs. America competition includes individual interviews with each of the judges. Each candidate also will model a one-piece swimsuit provided by the pageant for the physical fitness competition, and will compete in evening gown.

Walls said the interviews will be short, which means she doesn’t have much time to make an impression.

“My main goal is, whether I win or not, to make sure the judges know that Brielle Walls is a woman who is intelligent and puts my community before myself, as well as my family before myself.”

Her family, including parents Brian and Teresa Cotterman of Tipton, will be in the audience for the Sept. 6 finals, and Scott will be her on-stage escort in the evening gown competition. The competition will be aired on the Women’s Entertainment channel Sept. 23.

Walls said this is the perfect time in her life to be Mrs. America, before she and Scott have children, because “at that time in our life, I will probably dedicate all I have to raisaing children.”

“Right now, this is a fantastic opportunity for me to be Mrs. Indiana and possibly have the opportunity to be Mrs. America to give to my country and my community at this time in my life.”

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