After a heated elimination tournament held by Ingall's Shipyard, Vera Anderson was chosen the best of the torch girls and declared the winner and representative for the shipyard. Ingall's then issued a challenge to other yards and the Henry J. Kaiser's Oregon yard took up the challenge. Their challenger was Hermina Strmiska a former housewife.
On May 28th 1943 in Pascagoula, Ms they met and performed like champs. The competition was divided into two parts. With a rest period in between, during which time the men offered their advice. Vera Anderson's time was 24 minutes 46 2/3 seconds with 95.55 on quality. While Hermina Strmiska finished in 29 minutes 9 4/5 seconds and a quality score of 93.50.
Then in 1944 Vera was challenged once more and had to defend her title. On January 29, 1944, after a four hour contest with Edna Slocum of California, the West Coast Champion, Vera won once again with a 92.26 quality with Mrs. Slocum having 84. 63 in quality.
Aunt Vera went on after the war to marry and raise a family. She was an ordinary country girl working as a waitress, who went on to become famous, if for just a little while, as one of the many women who left the ideals of womanhood far behind during a time of great sacrifice and hardship. We are extremely thankful for the dedication, time and effort that these women provided our country in its time of crisis. They were out of their element and yet, they found that they could excel at a man's job in a man's world. They paved the way for the modern woman to continue to do so.