Texas A&M University at Galveston graduate Ann Marie Reigrut has an impressive resume, boasting a pair of master’s degrees, the title of reserve officer in the U.S. Coast Guard and licensed U.S. Merchant Marine officer. On Mother’s Day, she traded her blue Coast Guard uniform for a tiara and a sash and added another accomplishment: Mrs. Texas United States 2017.
“As a career woman, full-time mom, dedicated community volunteer and now as Mrs. Texas United States 2017, I wish my legacy to be one of impact, and to touch as many lives for the better with the class and dignity that has been instilled in me and to showcase that from steel-toe boots to stilettos, it is not the shoes that define you, but the strong woman wearing them,” Reigrut said.
She graduated in 2004 from the Texas A&M Maritime Academy at Texas A&M Galveston, where she learned how to operate and maintain an ocean-going vessel. In addition to classroom training, “Texas A&M Galveston gave me the practical experience in seamanship and navigation sailing aboard the training ship Texas Clipper II,” said Reigrut. “Sailing every summer aboard the school ship was one of the best educational experiences I could have asked for.” Reigrut earned a Bachelor of Marine Science degree and became licensed U.S. Merchant Marine Officer – Unlimited Tonnage Third Mate in 2004.
While Reigrut worked towards a Master’s degree in Marine Resource Management from Texas A&M Galveston in 2006, she worked at one of the shipyards in Galveston. “I crawled tanks and monitored the safety and pollution prevention aspects of the shipyard operations,” she said. Later, she pursued a second Master’s degree in quality management from the National Graduate School.
While attending school, Reigrut met her future husband, Travis, an offshore maritime captain. Together they now have two children and currently reside in Spring, Texas. In homage to the event being a “Mrs.” competition, she decided to wear her wedding dress during the evening gown part of the competition.
“The role of Mrs. Texas United States is to represent the married women of our great state and to encourage each one in her pursuit of personal excellence, career achievement and community service,” says Reigrut. “The journey of becoming Mrs. Texas United States has encouraged me to become the best version of myself that I could be, gaining self-awareness, self-confidence, individual pride and greater social awareness.”
She says her passion is to help others to recognize and stand up to domestic violence, with specific focus on the prevalence and impact of emotional abuse as part of the relationship/domestic abuse cycle. As an advocate for victims of emotional abuse, she shares her own story in hopes of inspiring others to take a stand against any form of domestic violence.
She has served as a reservist for the last 12 years. Besides maintaining her Unlimited Tonnage Third Mates License, she is qualified as a pollution investigator for the Coast Guard, and has received additional training in maritime international safety, security and marine firefighting. Called up for Coast Guard duty during the Deep Water Horizon oil spill, Reigrut served as the branch director in Cocodrie, Louisiana, where she actively led and provided tactical/operational oversight of over 800 personnel and more than 150 vessels. Reigrut also has held positions at American Bureau of Shipping Americas Division, Deep Marine Technology, Inc. and Gulf Copper Dry Dock and Rig Repair.
She also carves out time in an already busy schedule to serve as a volunteer with the USO and the Junior League of The Woodlands. Reigrut is currently forming her own organization to educate others about emotional abuse.
As a volunteer with the Junior League of The Woodlands, she served as the assistance provisional co-chair for the group’s Provisional Class Project with the Giving Gown Foundation. Together, the Provisional Class of 2016 collected over 1,200 dresses, 1,500 pieces of jewelry, 482 pairs of shoes, 100 handbags and over 20,000 gift bag items for more than 1,500 girls.
Reigurt says she’s proud to serve in her many roles – as Mrs. Texas U.S., in her philanthropic endeavors, and as a lieutenant in the Coast Guard Reserve – but there is one role that’s most gratifying: “Being a mom is my most rewarding job.”