SHEROES United is pleased to introduce to you our latest SHERO inducted into the SHERO Hall of FAME - Cherissa Jackson currently lives and works in Maryland. She is a dedicated Mother, Business Owner, Philanthropist, and she is now a citizen soldier with her own mission to raise awareness to PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Please give her a Huge SHERO Salute!!!

Cherissa Jackson - Capt. US Air Force Retired

Spring 2015 SHERO Recipient

Captain Cherissa Jackson

Cherissa's Story..... My name is Cherissa Jackson and I am a retired Air Force Nurse. I served 23 years and I survived 4 deployments.

I am a proud single mother of twin daughters and I decided while sitting in a bunker under attack in Afghanistan, that if I survived, I would launch a business that would create a legacy for my daughters.

I created Jackson & Associates Legal Nurse Consultants, LLC not only to help attorneys with their medical related cases saving them time and money but I wanted to showcase how a PTSD survivor could and would conquer the world.

As a PTSD soldier, I was troubled with the stigma that came along with that disorder. I felt ashamed and felt very guilty that my symptoms didn’t look like everyone else’s. My peers have suffered from depression, failed relationships, anxiety, suicide, etc. while trying to combat their symptoms. Many are debilatated by an abundance of psych medications and unable to function in today's society. I am troubled that no one has been their true advocate.

Since my transformation at CEOSpace, I’ve been very bold at announcing my passion and my true purpose in life: Being that Ambassador and Advocate for PTSD soldiers. Before CEO Space, I’ve had this nagging tug on my heart to do more and become more than just a survivor. I’ve always taken pride in myself to be that motivator, inspirer, and encourager, so now I am entering into the next chapter of my life - I am going to be that change, I am going to be the VOICE and I will do what I have to do to make a difference in the lives of so many others that have served their country.

I had to step up and with a mighty roar, conquer the fear of rejection of walking into my destiny.  Once I did that, there has been no stopping me.  I am an entrepreneur, a proud mother, a disabled Veteran, and a PTSD advocate. 
My overall quest is to show every female veteran, every PTSD veteran, every family member enduring the stressors of helping their love ones with this disorder, that everything is POSSIBLE.  If I can do it, so can they.  I remember Les Brown, a famous motivational speaker, saying “Nothing is Impossible”. We all have the gift and sustaining power to defeat and conquer all obstacles.  I want to be that champion that echoes that to everyone I meet.  I want this movement to be a global movement where we support our PTSD soldiers showing them other holistic and unconventional means to be great and be proud to overcome their symptoms. Their symptoms are just an extension of who they are but not the person inside. 

The world needs to see that we have conquered and we are survivors not zombies, and society should not be afraid that we will go “postal” if confronted. No more I say, no more!

We are Philanthropists, we are Graduates, Business Owners, we are your neighbors, your sisters, your friends and we are whomever and whatever we want to be.

My final message is this… only takes one person to create awareness. Like a boomerang, those that have compassion and support the cause will flock. I do this because I've petitioned my God to fulfill my purpose. I am Cherissa Jackson of Jackson & Associates Certified Legal Nurse Consultant and I’m aPTSD survivor and I will shout it out to the mountain tops that we don’t haveto be on medications to be great. I am a conqueror. I am a warrior. I am a “SHERO”!

Cherissa Jackson

Past SHERO Award Recipients

Elaine Runyon-Simmons

Elaine Runyon-Simmons

Elaine was selected as our SHERO of the SPRING/SUMMER

Because of her tireless efforts working with missing and exploited Children. She turned tragedy into triumph by helping thousands of other children and their parents as you will read. This is also a tribute to Little Rachael's Birthday this month.

Its been more than 20 years but she still works and speaks out on the AMBER alert once called the Rachael Alert. "It doesn't take away all the pain or anything like that, but it helps to know that you're making a difference," she says.

Elaine Runyon-Simmons knows what it's like to worry about her daughter and wanted to organize an effort to help find her. Elaine's daughter was Rachel Runyon, who was kidnapped in 1982. Three weeks later, hikers found her body in the mountains. Today the Amber Alert can help locate children like Rachel before it's too late. The Amber Alert really coordinates an effort between the community, media and law enforcement, so everyone can be on the lookout for abducted children. Here in Utah, officials test the system on Missing Children's Day in May, and on September 19th, a date that holds significance for the Runyon family. It's been exactly 23 years since three-year-old Rachel Runyon's body was found in a creekbed after the little girl was kidnapped and killed. Despite the time that's passed, her mother still feels the pain. Elaine Runyan-Simmons Daughter Kidnapped & Killed: "You always miss that child and you always wonder what they would have been like."When Rachel was kidnapped, there was no Amber Alert system in place. Today her mother is involved with promoting the system. Elaine Runyan-Simmons: "That's why I do it, so you don't have to go through this. And if we could have made it a different story or a different outcome, but I can't change what happened."But Elaine knows she can change what is happening now.

The Amber Alert system has helped find more than 150 children across the U.S., and six here in Utah. The most recent Amber Alert success was a 14-year-old Indiana girl whom police spotted in July just outside of Wendover. Twice each year, the Amber Alert is tested to make sure it works efficiently. Today the Woods Cross police department sent out the test. One minute and nine seconds later, cell phones and pagers around the state started receiving text messages about the alert. And KSL radio, which controls the emergency alert for all TV and radio stations across Utah, made the announcement on the air. TV stations also cut into programming for the announcement. Rachel Runyon's mother says she's happy the memory of her daughter is helping spare other families her pain. Elaine Runyon-Simmons: "She obviously had a very strong spirit and touched many, many people. "Elaine Runyon-Simmons: "I think we've saved a lot of lives because of her. "Here in Utah, the Amber Alert was originally named the Rachel Alert after Rachel Runyon. It was changed to avoid confusion across the country.If this had been a real alert, you would have seen highway message boards posting information on the victim and suspect.Police officers also receive alerts through their laptop computers and cell phones. And dispatch centers broadcast it to all officers through their car radios.

Elaine Runyan-Simmons is the mother of little Rachael Runyan, who was a beautiful 3-year-old girl from Sunset, Utah. On August 26, 1982 Rachael was lured away by a stranger offering ice cream. She was found three weeks later, bound and murdered. To this day the perpetrator has never been caught.As devastating as this tragedy was, Elaine channeled her grief into educating children and their parents on the dangers of abduction and crimes against children and youth. Elaine was one of the driving forces for the establishment of Missing Children of Utah, Inc., a not-for-profit organization. She was elected President of MCU in 1993, and held this position with great pride and commitment for several years. She has been actively involved in legislative issues that involve children, and has spoken statewide and nationally. Her story has appeared on Unsolved Mysteries, Today, Real People, Extra, Crime Solvers, America's Most Wanted, CNN-Freeman Report and Street Smart Video. She has served on countless state commissions to combat child abuse, abduction and predatory crimes against children.Elaine has been actively involved in the implementation of the AMBER Alert, which was formally the Rachael Runyan Alert since its inception in Utah prior to the federal law. In addition, Elaine has had her own State Farm Insurance Agency for the last 18 1/2 years. Most importantly, she is the proud mother of Justin and Nate and Mother-in-law to Justin’s wife, Shana. Spending time with her beautiful grandchildren is Elaine’s favorite pastime!

SHEROES United would like to Thank Elaine for all of her efforts and Honor Her with our SHERO of the Quarter Designation. You are a true SHERO!!!!


Rachael Runyon

Working to make Change with the AMBER Alert

Click on Image

Rebecca Musser was born into the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS Church), an extreme, isolated, polygamist sect that had splintered off from the Mormon faith. At age 19, she was forced into a polygamous marriage to the church's
prophet, a man more than four times her age. After her husband died and Warren Jeffs, the new prophet, tried to force her to remarry, Rebecca escaped.
Beginning a brand-new life in a strange world of ‘gentiles,’ freedom, debit cards and French fries – Rebecca yearned to save her little sisters from becoming child brides. She forged a trusting relationship with law enforcement, and when Texas authorities raided the FLDS Yearning for Zion Ranch in April of 2008, they were overwhelmed by cultural differences and language barriers. Those authorities asked Rebecca to assist them, and she became instrumental in deciphering mountains of evidence of child molestation and bigamy found on the ranch, as well as becoming a vital witness for the state of Texas in over 20 criminal convictions.
Today, Rebecca is a national speaker, advocate for victims of human trafficking, and the author of the soon to be released book, The Witness Wore Red – a gripping and powerful memoir of a prophet’s 19th wife, damned apostate, and witness for the prosecution of Warren Jeffs and FLDS leaders.

Continue reading on Rebecca Musser, former polygamist wife speaks out - Provo Christianity |

Dr. Maya Angelou is one of the most renowned and influential voices of our time. Hailed as a global renaissance woman, Dr. Angelou is a celebrated poet, memoirist, novelist, educator, dramatist, producer, actress, historian, filmmaker, and civil rights activist.
Born on April 4th, 1928, in St. Louis, Missouri, Dr. Angelou was raised in St. Louis and Stamps, Arkansas. In Stamps, Dr. Angelou experienced the brutality of racial discrimination, but she also absorbed the unshakable faith and values of traditional African-American family, community, and culture.

As a teenager, Dr. Angelou’s love for the arts won her a scholarship to study dance and drama at San Francisco’s Labor School. At 14, she dropped out to become San Francisco’s first African-American female cable car conductor. She later finished high school, giving birth to her son, Guy, a few weeks after graduation. As a young single mother, she supported her son by working as a waitress and cook, however her passion for music, dance, performance, and poetry would soon take center stage.

Dr. Angelou has received over 30 honorary degrees and is Reynolds Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University.
Dr. Angelou’s words and actions continue to stir our souls, energize our bodies, liberate our minds, and heal our hearts.

Mary Nickles is a morning and Noon anchor and health correspondent for CBS affiliate in Salt Lake City. I was diagnosed with breast cancer after getting a mammogram for a TV story! Not many people can say their job saved their life! I had a lumpectomy on Dec. 19th, stage one, 1.3 centimeters, grade 3 invasive, triple negative. It's a rare and aggressive cancer so I will also have chemo and radiation to kill any suckers in there! Chemo starts Friday, Jan. 20th...keep track of when I lose my hair, because I plan to do the news while all of this is going on! In Utah since 1991, worked in Yakima, WA before that. I come from a big, wonderful, Seattle-based family. I am very active with my kids, and in sports, volunteer work, and politics. I'm a mom of boy/girl twins, and wife of an incredible partner and dad. I've been in the TV news business since 1985, and LOVE it!

Follow her journey on her blog at

We thank all of the women that have served our country and have protected our borders. We honor our women in service. To know more about our Military Women, please see our SHERO Veterans page.