Saturday, October 3, 2009

Berkley Co. Dancing with the Community Stars Fundraiser

Friday night, I had the privilege of being the emcee at the Berkeley County Dancing with the Community Stars Fundraiser - what a great night! I have always been jealous of those MAO contestants who come from Berkeley County, as they seem to have such great directors and financial help in their local scholarships, and I saw for myself what makes them such a huge success! The local board there had organized a fundraiser similar to Dancing with the Stars, and it was so much fun! We had seven pairs of contestants, including two of our own Miss America girls, Amber Miller and her father (who got roped into the dancing the night before when her partner got sick - kudos to him, for sure - they were so cute together!) as well as Maggie Power and her boyfriend who did an awesome job with "Fresh Prince of Belair." All the contestants were absolutely wonderful, and Michael T. Meyers (Magician) and Jennifer Barcinas-Miller, who did the cutest "magic" dance that the audience fell in love with.

Kyle and I got out there at the end and got our groove on! Cool to get to see my other Miss America sisters Ashley Breedon and Melissa Goodwin also - all you future Miss WV girls, get ready - June will be here before you know it!

My good friend from high school, Sherry Skeen Shour, drove down to spend the weekend from Maryland where she is stationed with the Air Force. It was so good to get to hang out with her a bit before she heads off to an assignment in Korea this spring.

Billboard Campaign Photo Shoot

Trey Barker, my "official" photograpaher, was kind enough to come to Ripley Monday to do the photo shoot with the children for my "Become a foster parent" billboard campaign. We got several great pics (my favs are here but feel free to vote on my Facebook on yours). I can't wait to get this implemented and see if we can't get some of these 4000 children adopted and in safe homes! Thank you, Trey - you're the best!

WVU - Colorado Game

I thought Kyle might enjoy getting to see our Great Mountaineers in action (yes, those same Mountaineers that whipped up on the Georgia Bulldogs!) so I scrounged around for tickets, and my good friend and neighbor, Floyd Bowlby, came through for me and gave me a set! Thank you, Floyd! It was great getting together with old high school friends before and after the game (Alison Spiker, Taran Parsons, Christa Fisher)

Elkins Forest Festival Log-A-Load for Kids Log Auction

There is a great tradition begun by the late Ted Harriman at the world famous Elkins Forest Festival sponsored by the Mountain Loggers Cooperative Association held at the Newlons International Sales lot in Elkins. Businesses or individuals will purchase a very large tree, then they have an auctioneer come and auction off that specific log, with the proceeds going to benefit WVU Children's Hospital. The log will then be split into usable lumber and is resold to become a usable part of the community. They have raised over $1,000,000 in the last 13 years. Once again, this event highlighted the best about West Virginia: People coming together to create better communities and resources for our future generations. I was privileged to be a part of it!

Oh, yeah, and since I was in town, I stopped by CheBella's new store - all I can say is WOW-WOW-WOW! Susan has such incredible taste, and I love the way she lays everything out. Kyle went along to explore his metrosexual side - oops! He may kill me for that one!

School Tour Starts!

What an incredible week I have had! Kyle Maynard drove from Atlanta on Saturday night to spend the week with me, and we sure have worn ourselves out! He arrived Saturday night, and we spent Sunday with family and going to church. Early Monday morning, we spoke to our first school in Jackson County, and the fun began!

I have a multimedia presentation for each school, specifically targeted at elementary, middle and high schools. Each presentation includes some interactive slides, as well as attention-getting videos targeted at the different types of abuse and neglect the students or their friends could be facing. After I went through my presentation, during which I use Kyle's introductory video (click below) to finish my speech off with an example of someone who truly has set impossible goals and reached them, I would say to the kids, "Don't you think he's pretty cool?" They'd say, "Yeah." And I'd say, "Well, guess what?? He's here!" They would go wild!

It was so exciting being able to start my school tour with him by my side. He is such an inspiration, and he really rocked the crowds! We got all kinds of crazy questions, ranging from "Did you get a Ferrari for being Miss WV, and where's your limo," to "Are you two dating?" The kids really had a heyday with that one!

Kyle has such a heart and is so compassionate. He spent one evening with a student from Ripley who was born with no legs and one arm, spent some time with him working out physically, then brought him up to the house to show him his upcoming documentary. What a great example of investing yourself in others he is. We all could learn much from him.

Monday through Wednesday, we spoke at nine schools, two football practices, did my photo shoot, then Kyle, mom and I left for Elkins on Thursday morning, to attend the Forest Festival, the WVU-Colorado ballgame, the Berkeley County Dancing with the Stars, the Martinsburg Welcome Home to the Veterans Celebration and then on to the Wellsburg Apple Festival. Can anyone say "mileage on the car??" Although Kyle drove the whole time (yes, that is a sight to see!), so the miles didn't rack up on my odometer - liked that!