Story by Capt. Esperanza Meza
19th Regt. Public Affairs Office
LAREDO, Texas (September 1, 2014) – As members of the Texas State Guard, soldiers take an oath to serve Texas and often sacrifice a great deal to do so, for TXSG Sgt. Lauren Guzman, she wears two hats for Texas – her ACU patterned patrol cap and a crown.
Guzman was crowned Miss Texas USA 2014 on Sept. 1, 2013, representing the Lone Star State and serving the citizens of Texas as both Sgt. Guzman and as Miss Texas all year.
"In the community, being a role model with high standards is expected when being in and out of uniform," Guzman said, speaking of the TXSG contributing to her success in the pageants. "The TXSG taught me to be on time for events, meetings, and how to network, but it also takes a lot of discipline, commitment and self-motivation when there is no monetary compensation involved."
Guzman is currently assigned to 1st Regiment, TXSG, in the operations section in San Antonio and served with the regiment's Quick Reaction Team before it disbanded.
“We've given her the latitude to attend required Miss Texas USA functions without penalty or adverse perception for not being able to attend scheduled Unit Training Assemblies,” stated State Guard Col. Vincent Carag, 1st Regiment commander. "We, the Soldiers of the 1st Regiment, stand behind her efforts 100 percent." Guzman agreed, stating the troops and command, her “extended second family,” has been very supportive.
Guzman joined the TXSG in 2007 and holds a bachelor’s degree in forensic science from St. Mary’s University, which she earned while serving in the guard and is looking to the future.
As her reign comes to an end, she is considering several career options and looking to attend Officer Candidate School.
"She was a soldier before she became Miss Texas USA and I could tell she was a ‘squared away soldier' when I first came on board," said 1st Regiment, Command Sgt. Maj., Mario Zuniga, giving accolades to Guzman.
"As a leader, she is a coach and mentor and is not afraid to get dirty or ask questions," he said, "and when she won Miss Texas USA, both the colonel and I thought she'd be a great spokesperson and recruiter for the TXSG."
A pageant veteran, Guzman started in 2005, where she won the Miss Laredo Top Model Pageant. In 2006, she was first runner-up in the Miss Laredo Teen USA but claimed the title in 2008. Persevering, she competed for Miss Texas USA, being third runner-up in 2011, first runner-up in 2012 and fourth runner-up in 2013 before winning the title in 2014.
Guzman followed her father’s and grandfather's footsteps into the TXSG. Both served several years with 1st Regiment; her father, a major in the medical corps, and her grandfather, an education professor posthumously promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel.
Guzman looks to her family for inspiration to do well and set an example for others.
“My mom has always been there and pushed me to do well while I also try to do right to be a role model for my sister,” she said.
As Miss Texas USA, Guzman traveled throughout the state and nation addressing issues such as breast and ovarian cancer awareness, attended charity events, parades and visited hospitals and schools to help educate children regarding the dangers of drugs and the importance of education. She also volunteers with numerous non-profit organizations on top of her work with the Guard.
As Guzman relinquishes her crown to the next Miss Texas USA, she leaves us with this advice.
"If you have a goal, push for it and ask yourself why you want it,” said Guzman.
“Keep your head up till you achieve what you want and accomplish it. I kept competing until I won Miss Texas USA.”