Pollyanna Neely was born in Miami, Florida and grew up between Florida and Nassau Bahamas. The fourth of five children, she has always been destined to serve in the military. Joining the United States Navy in 1987, and pursing her desire to serve her country while obtaining the stability needed as a single parent, she excelled.
Her 25-year career has taken her across the world, and coast to coast. This peaked with her becoming selected as one of the exclusively limited number of women of color to achieve the enlisted rank of Master Chief Petty Officer in the United States Navy. Her campaigns included missions in direct support of DESERT SHIELD, DESERT STORM, OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM, OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM and OPERATION NEW DAWN.
Her awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, three Navy Commendation Medals, five Navy Achievement Medals, Navy Unit Commendation, Meritorious Unit Commendation, Battle “E”, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment ribbons, Overseas Service ribbons, six Good Conduct Medals, and the National Defense Service Medal.
She earned a certification in Global Career Development Facilitation, Undergraduate Certificate in Medical and Billing Coding, Master of Management from Cambridge College, and Master of Public Administration with Concentration in Nonprofit Management from Keller University.
Since retiring, she has Co-Founded Active Veteran With Answers (AVWA), a nonprofit organization focused on educating veterans and family members on benefits earned from the Department of Veterans Affairs and its subsidiaries. AVWA also founded Dimes 4 Homeless Veterans and Vet Girls RISE. In 2018, Pollyanna received the Charlotte Hornets and Bank of America Yellow Ribbon Award for outstanding achievement. Now as the Founder of Impact100 Global Veterans, she aims to enhance organizations that work to enhance the care and feeding of fellow veterans.
She is married to Henry Neely; Master Chief Petty Officer (retired) and they have three sons. The family resides in York, South Carolina.