Thursday, July 30, 2009

WVU Children's Hospital



The WV Radio Corporation America Legion Baseball Tournament requested volunteers. I had the day off, so I decided to volunteer and was able to sing the national anthem. From there, I helped sell programs and then traveled over to the Morgantown Ruby Memorial Children’s Hospital to visit some of the children receiving care.

There were 70 some beds and almost all of them were full. I was able to talk to a few patients and take a few pictures. These children are amazing and have so much courage. I left there thinking of how much I take for granted on a daily basis. Meeting these kids was a blessing.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

WOWKTV - Channel 13 Interview

10:00 was the scheduled time for the television interview with WSAZ Channel 13. The topic of conversation was my grant and partnership with Massey Energy and what I planned to do concerning the recruitment of new foster families and adoptive families out of foster care. It lasted about a half hour and you can see the selected segment on the link below.

http://wowktv.com/story.cfm?func=viewstory&storyid=63786

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Radio Interview with Clarksburg Station


This morning at 9:30, I participated in my first radio interview. Unfortunately, I had to conduct it by phone since I wasn’t in the area for a prior scheduled appearance, but it was a great experience. We talked for about a half hour on many topics – being Miss WV, future plans, Miss America, and platform. The interviewers were hilarious and we seemed to always be laughing. For my first radio interview, it went very well and was enjoyable at the same time!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Drum Corps International Band Competition


I was privileged enough to get to sing the National Anthem for the DCI band competition at UC Stadium. The bands that participated are “professional marching bands.” They spend all summer traveling all over the US and performing. At the end of the summer, each band competes at the World Drum Corps Band Competition. The participants pay to be a part of this band because it is the elite of all bands. Each performance was phenomenal!


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Miss West Virginia Scholarship Organization Picnic

Went to Tygart Valley State Park in Grafton, WV for a picnic organized by Barb Brunetti, President of MWVSO. The food and fellowship were great, and I left feeling very thankful for the investment that these women have made in me over the past four years.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Republican Summit


Since I was Princeton the night before, I was able to eat breakfast with an old friend and former Miss West Virginia, Summer Wyatt.  We met at Cracker Barrel and caught up in between eating the eggs, bacon and biscuits!

 

From there, I traveled to Charleston where I spoke at the WV Republican Summit.  This was a conference put on by Governor Eisenhower’s Internship program for individuals interested in pursuing a career, or involving themselves in the race for public office.  I was fortunate enough to speak and spoke about being from a political family, campaign since I was 12, interning for Congresswoman Capito’s 2006 Congressional campaign, being appointed to the White House Advance Team and then working with Sarah Palin.  After talking about some of my experiences, I talked about how I had a goal to be Miss West Virginia and it took me 4 years to accomplish that goal.  I said “I know many of you might have a goal and that goal might be to be a sitting congress person, graduate high school or college with honors, participate as a staffer for a national campaign but you are never going to accomplish those things without hard work.  It isn’t going to be easy, some days you are going to feel like giving up, but if at the end of the day you can’t see your life without achieving that goal or being in that place, then it is worth pressing on through the hard times.  I did and now after 4 years of exactly that, hard work, I have accomplished one of my lifetime goals…..but will probably run for office too!  They laughed….

Friday, July 24, 2009

Princeton Elks Camp


I went to the Princeton Elks Camp that is put on by the Elks Association for special needs campers.  Again, I am amazed at the generosity and hard work that is put into a camp of this kind.  The camp director and President of the Elks Association told me “Most of the time this is the only week all year that the parents of these campers gets to have a vacation or time alone with each other.  These campers are all 24/7 care children to these parents and they are very appreciate to have time off while their child enjoys the time being with their peers.  These are the unsung heroes that never get the recognition that they deserve…but don’t expect any recognition or even want it…they just want these kids to feel like they are, loved and cherished in society.

 

I arrived around 5:30 and ate dinner – pizza and fruit – with the campers.  It was one campers birthday and for 13 years he has been celebrating it with the many other Princeton Elks campers.  So we had cake and ice cream to celebrate in style.  It was the last night of camp.  Everyone was signing each others shirts with special sayings or just a signature and I guess mine was a hit J  

When the campers sign in on Monday morning they are asked what they would like Santa to bring them.  The Elks camp purchases the requested items and at the end of the week the campers receive “Christmas with Santa.”  These campers don’t ask for iPod’s, video games, or expensive clothes or shoes.  One camper asked for a new pair of jeans and shoes, the other asked for a portable CD player, one asked for a CD, etc.  There were 79 campers and each camper got the exact gift they asked for~  HOW COOL?

 

After everyone opened up their gifts we had a farewell dance where an old acquaintance of mine sang T-R-O-U-B-L-E~  Always a great time when being with the Elks association!


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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Camp Mountain Heart

Cedar Lakes was hosting the Camp Mountain Heart camp this week, and I was invited to attend the Power Park baseball game with the campers.  What a tremendous time we had!  All these kids have a heart condition of some kind (pacemaker, heart surgery, aortic valve, etc.) and there is a benefactor from Morgantown who makes this camp a possibility.  Made some new friends and spent several hours of down time being “interviewed” for a MySpace page of one of the campers.  Didn’t realize I was that interesting, but they pulled information out of me I’d never even thought of!  Was able to sing the Star Spangled Banner to open the game - took me back to those high school days when I got to sing for the basketball games and thought I was a star! 




 

Monday, July 13, 2009

Supreme Court Child Abuse and Neglect Training


Spent two days in Wheeling receiving training on child abuse and neglect issues.  I was in great company, as there were a variety of attorneys receiving CLE credits, social workers, etc. in attendance.  Made several new contacts to promote my platform and realized that while I am developing my knowledge base every day, there is still much to be learned, and even more to be done!  I am continually impressed with the quality and dedication of our professionals in this area to the children of our state. 

Friday, July 10, 2009

1st PASS Meeting

WV PASS (Partnerships to Assure Students Success) is the entity that funds the school tour for Miss West Virginia.  Their grant, along with the Henry J. Reynolds Anti Tobacco campaign pays the expenses for Miss WV to speak at a minimum of 120 schools throughout the state.  Went to the capitol and met the people I will be dealing with throughout the year, and we went to the Governor’s office to have the luncheon and PASS presentation.  It was so enlightening to see all the various programs that are affiliated with PASS, and to see the dedication of these teachers and educators to continually challenge the students with the latest technology and resources available.  Didn’t realize I was to give a speech there, but I’m getting better at “winging it,” and was able to pull it off.  Hats off to Jack Wiseman and the PASS team for all they’re doing throughout the state – it will be an honor to represent them in any way.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Energy Express Celebrity Reader


Went to Mason-Dixon Elementary School to read to the Energy Express kids there.  What a great group of kids!  They have such inquisitive minds and are so fun to be with!  They had a time trying on my sash and crown, even one little boy who watched and watched while the girls tried on, and then he comes over and says, “Well, if you really think I should, I’ll go ahead and try it.”  So cute!  Felt blessed that they included me in their day and I was able to get to meet them.





Monday, July 6, 2009

Obtaining Sponsorship for Media/Appearances

Spent the entire day on the phone with radio stations asking for free Public Service Announcement spots for foster family recruitment, as well as making calls to potential large donors to help fund all the things I need to get done this year.  Got with Mission WV again to get the team in place to get these PSAs written and produced.  Spent a good bit of the day working on Miss America platform paperwork and working on my blog!  Good productive day!  Am feeling a little less overwhelmed.


July 9th I obtained a LARGE monetary grant from Massey Energy to help me promote media and personal appearances, focused on foster parent recruitment and adoption from foster care.  

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Old Stone Presbyterian Church


Spoke this morning at the Oldstone Presbyterian Church (and on the radio) about the opportunities to become a foster parent.  Used that extremely convicting scripture where Jesus says, “Whatever you did not do for the least of these, you did not do for me,” and sent them off into damnation.  Had a very welcome response from these people after church, and found out this local church already supports CASA and two other children-in-crisis centers, so I was preaching to the choir. 

Saturday, July 4, 2009

4th of July

One of my favorite holidays! Went to the Calvary United Methodist Pancake Breakfast, got my picture taken with the fine cooks, made opening remarks at the welcome ceremony along with the other dignitaries (yoohoo, have I arrived??) and then got to ride in my hometown parade as MISS WEST VIRGINIA! I have truly dreamed of this day since I was a little girl. My very first pageant was the Ripley Little Miss Firecracker, and I gave this corny speech about “If you’ll let me be Miss Firecracker, I’ll sparkle and shine for Ripley all year long!”


I had been invited to the parade at the Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, so my parents decided that they needed to accompany me to this event (wonder why?). Anyway, as soon as Ripley’s parade was over, we switched out cars and drove pell-mell to Greenbrier County. Had no time to go to the bathroom or catch a bite to eat, so lunch was about a hundred Tootsie Rolls from the candy basket! Got there in time, met up with my Monarch Miss, Danielle Jolliffe, who has a very special place in my heart! Connie Jones was there to meet us with her car equipped with signs and decorations, which was another blessing! The parade there was put on for the benefit of the guests of the Greenbrier for the weekend, which they say is one of their busiest times, the 4th and Christmas. We circled the gorgeous property there, and there were several other interesting things in the parade, unicyclists, balloon artists, adult community bands, dance troupes, etc. It was fun, and perfect weather. After the parade, we mingled on the lawn there where they had blow-up games for the kids, free watermelon and ice cream. I got my picture taken with several kids and made a few new friends.


We were all tired by then, and the high heels weren’t working too well in the grass, so we decided to check in. My mother had stayed at the Greenbrier about 20 years ago, and she had warned me that the room would be small and not as impressive as you might think, so imagine our delight when we opened the door to the room they had provided for me, and it was a SUITE! It was so scrumptious that we took pictures of all the rooms: A living room with TV, bedroom with huge king-sized bed and another TV and relaxing chairs, two walk-in closets equipped with robes, huge thirsty towels in a black and white marble bath – WOW!! Mom almost cried, we were so overwhelmed. Major thank you to Jim and Cathy Justice and the President of the Greenbrier! They sure know how to make you feel like a queen – it was truly a moment I’ll never forget!



The day got even better, if you could imagine that. We changed clothes and went down for our second meal since the pancakes 10 hours ago, passing by families lounging in the lobbies where live music was playing, very opulent. We ate dinner at a buffet that reminded you of a cruise spread (ice sculptures, huge flower arrangements, the works!) and ate dinner while being entertained by Phil Dirt and the Dozers. I took the opportunity to go dance on the dance floor with some of the little girls that were dancing, and they mobbed me, tried to jerk the crown off my head (which was pinned on, regrettably), and I almost fell over on the ground in a dress – my parents were watching and dying laughing, but it was kind of scary! I have no idea where their parents were, but I spent the next hour swinging and dancing with all these kids and had a blast. Met the nicest couple from Washington, D.C. that sat at our table, and they invited us to come and stay at their home if we were ever in their neck of the woods, which we surely would do, we liked them so much.

Headed to bed in that unbelievable room – I didn’t think you could ever beat 4th of July in Ripley, but I sure had the time of my life today!

Here is a video of my 1st PAGEANT! I haven't changed much...was a dork then and

a dork now!


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Friday, July 3, 2009

Ripley Arts and Crafts Fair

Went to the Ripley Arts & Crafts Fair and had some delicious potatoes and cheese before I started back on my hateful Miss America diet.  Spent several hours reviewing the pictures Trey had posted and sending them off to others for their comments.


Thursday, July 2, 2009

Miss America Song Selection

Spent the ENTIRE day listening to 391 song snippets from www.musicalcreations.com to try to pick a new song for Miss America, and began the arduous process of compiling the paperwork.


 

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Miss America Photo Shoot

Spent the evening with Trey Barker, my official Miss America photographer – what fun that was!  He is so easy to work with, is so talented, and I think we came up with some really unique photos.  One of my favorites is the one where I’m on the trunk in the middle of the road.  To set the scene:  Been raining all day off and on, still misting when we went out to “try again.”  There I am laying on this trunk, trucks coming down the road – they wouldn’t even hardly stop to get past me!  They’re probably thinking, “Some drugged-up weirdo out here laying on this wooden box, big enough to fit a dead body in!”  I cannot thank Misty enough for hooking me up with Trey, and can’t thank him enough for all the extra things he’s done for me.  Check out his web site at www.treybarkerphoto.com.  Would highly recommend him!
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