A Royal Welcome Home

Below is the link to an article that was just published in the Eastern Magazine about my full circle journey in going back to visit my Alma Mater and 2011 National Football Champions! - Eastern Washington University - as Mrs. Washington. I read it and I cried. Thanks to Kandi Carper, the editor of the magazine for doing such a fantastic job!

The Legacy of Hope - Celebrating Our Youth of the Year!

Above is the program cover of this years South Puget Sound Boys & Girls Clubs - The Legacy of Hope - Celebrating Our Youth of the Year!

In 1981, I was the first girl in Washington State to win "Washington State Girl of the Year". Thirty years later I have come back now as Mrs. Washington America to give back to the organization that laid the foundation for my future - the Boys & Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound. What an honor it was to be the special guest of the evening!

Tonight's Program Agenda

My Mom and Louie here to support not only me, but the Boys and Girls Club Youth of the Year Candidates as well. My mom knows all too well that the Boys and Girls Club helped shape me into the woman I am today. Great memories.

With Matt Watrous - Executive Director of the Washington State Association of Boys and Girls Clubs and Mark Starnes - President/CEO of the Puget Sound Boys and Girls Clubs.

With the Honorable Washington State Lt. Governor Brad Owens (Master of Ceremonies and Founder of Strategies for Youth) and his lovely wife Linda Owen (Youth of the Year Judge and Director of Strategies for Youth).

With Jim Kindred, Executive Board Chairman of the South Puget Sound Boys and Girls Clubs

With Clark Mather - District Director for Congressman Norm Dicks.

With Gene Anderson - Director of the D.A. Gonyea Boys and Girls Clubs in Tacoma. In 1981 I was able to attend the ribbon cutting ceremony for the D.A. Gonyea Boys Club as the reigning Girl of Washington State - that is where Gene and I first met some 30 years ago!

Giving my personal story of how the Boys and Girls Clubs paved the way for my future and presenting "Stand Up For Kids" in efforts to raise funds for the Boys and Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound.

Boys and Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound "2011Youth of the Yea"r is awarded to Kainen Bell from the Al Davies Branch. What a fabulous young man and fantastic speaker - so touched! I took this picture of the Big Screen when his name was announced.

Each and every one of our Youth of the Year Candidates did an amazing job. They have forever touched my heart! I just love these kids! Congratulations to all!

With Sam Dollar - Marketing Board Member for the Boys and Girls Club. Thank you Sam for escorting my parents tonight!

Wow, I am so proud of this young man. A BIG CONGRATULATIONS to Kainen Bell from the Al Davies Branch - our "2011 Youth of the Year"! I can't wait to cheer him on at the State Competition this March! 2011 Stan Naccarato Community Service Award recipient: Carolyn McDougal - President and CEO of Lindquist Dental Clinic for Children. Fabulous lady!

With our 2009 Washington State Youth of the Year - Christney Kpodo. Christney also won the Regional Competition in California which allowed her, along with four other finalist from across the country, to travel to Washington D.C. to be congratulated by President Obama himself! Amazing!

Legacy of Hope - Boys and Girls Club of South Puget Sound Prelimary Competition

Wednesday, Feb. 23 I had the honor to be a guest at the Legacy of Hope preliminary competition celebrating the most dynamic young women and man chosen among Boys and Girls Club across the Puget Sound to represent their Clubs while vying for the title of Youth of the Year. On Thursday, Feb. 24 the winner will be announced at the Legacy of Hope main event to be held at the Tacoma Convention Center.

This year the Boys and Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound has nominated 8 outstanding Club Youths of the Year, representing each Branch to compete for the 2011 Boys & Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound title:* Kainen Bell, Stadium High School, Al Davies Branch* Julene Borja, South Kitsap High School, South Kitsap Branch* Veronica Cubean, Mt. Tahoma High School, Henry T. Schatz Branch* Jessica Fletcher, Stadium High School, D.A. Gonyea Branch* India Irons, Lakes High School, Lakewood Branch* Chesney Pettett, Spanaway Lake High School, South Pierce County Branch* Nadine Tidwell, North Mason High School, North Mason Branch* Season Warren, Gig Harbor High School, Cheney Family Branch.

With Mark Starnes, President/CEO of the Boys and Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound. In 1981 I was the first girl to be selected as the Boys Clubs (before it was called Boys and Girls Club- see previous posting) "Girl of Washington State". What a blessing it is to be able to come back 30 years later as Mrs. Washington to support our youth of today. Thank you Mark for letting be a part of celebrating these amazing candidates!

Jinnie Hanson, Director of Marketing and Communications for the Boys and Girls Clubs, is the mastermind behind this event and I must say, she is doing a fabulous job!
Judy Hosea, Vice President of Development, and her husand Tom were so gracious as my dinner companions.

Hilary Baumstarck with Merril Lynch serves on the Boys and Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound Board. He too was nice enough to have me as a dinner guest at his table.

I met such a sweet young lady this evening - beautiful Brianna. She was such a delight - I got my girlie fix here :)!

Tonight's event was actually held in the auditorium of Lakeview Hope Academy where my youngest son Cody attends school. I am pictured above with the lady who keeps my baby fed and happy while at school - Lakeview's Lunch Lady - the most popular chef in town to a lot of little hungry bellies! I am so thankful for her! She was so kind to come in and help provide dinner along with the Boys and Girls Clubs Teen Chefs. They did an outstanding job!

On Sunday, February 20 my husband and I were interviewed during Sunday Service by our Pastor Dave Ressinger of Life Center South Church located in Lakewood. Life Center South is a branch of Life Center Tacoma. The topic of today's sermon was Life is an Adventure - What is Your Calling? We, as a husband and wife, basically talked about our journey as a family mainly in the special needs world in trying to be the best advocates possible for our two boys, Kenny and Cody. The main lesson that we have learned as a family is that when you allow yourself to vulnerable, meaning when you come to a point when there is nothing more of yourself to give and you are in total reliance on God - that is when God's power can truly minister not only in your life, but in the lives of those around you...and that becomes your calling! When you are going through the fire, He is molding you and shaping you into something bigger than you could have ever imagined - He has a plan!
We were so busy talking and ministering to others after the service - we just forgot to take some pictures!

Thankl You Lakewood YMCA!

A BIG HUGE THANK YOU to Mike Johnson, the Director of the Lakewood Family YMCA, for hosting the Mrs. Washington Pageant Rehearsals this weekend. What a blessing!

Saturday Rehearsals - Mrs. Washington Pageant 2011

Another day of Rehearsals at the Lakewood YMCA. From left to right: myself - Mrs. Washington 2010, Mrs. Pacific Northwest - Lisa Bluhm, Mrs. Seattle - Tamara Deporter, Mrs. Thurston County - Dionne Tarter, Washington State Pageant Director/Mrs. Washington 1993 - Pamela Curnel, Mrs. Vancouver - Yolanda Frazier, Mrs. Federal Way - Lily Ilnitsky, and Mrs. Emeral City - Anna Hiatt. What a great group of ladies - I am so excited for them!

Rosemont Ball - A Senior Pageant Celebration!

After pageant rehearsals on Friday, Feb. 18th, Mrs. Thurston County - Dionne Tarter and I attended the Rosemont Ball to celebrate a Senior Citizen Pageant later that evening. The event took place at the Rosemont Retirement & Assisted Living Community in Yelm. Above Dionne and I are pictured with Trudy Rounds and Angie Roush - wonderful women who made this all possible - a night full of pampering and fun!
Cowboy Ed was on the first to greet us!

D.J. Rickey volunteered his talents to make this night extra special as we danced the night away to the oldies, but goodies!

Dear sweet Rosemary looks amazingly stunning and youthful, even after surviving giving birth to and successfully raising 13 children (none of them were twins!). Wow, what an honor to spend some time with this Mommy!

Just loved chatting with Walt here (a.k.a. Wally)! He is a World War II Veteran. Being a patriotic military wife myself, I could have talked with him all night!

The Senior Pageant Court from left to right: Queen of Hospitality - Emma Elder, Mrs. Congeniality - Ursula Soanka, Mr. Congeniality - Carl Hanson, Mrs. Rosemont - Virginia Parker and Mr. Rosemont - Garvin Johnson. What a lovely evening - absolutely priceless!!!

Friday's Mrs. Washington Pageant Rehearsal - Lakewood YMCA

Rehearsals for the 2011 Mrs. Washington Pageant has begun! I can't believe it! From left to right: Mrs. Vancouver -Yolanda Frazier, Mrs. Federal Way- Lily Ilnitsky. Washington Pageant Director/Mrs. Washington 1993 - Pam Curnel, Melissa Curnel Pendleton, Baby David, Mrs. Pacific Northwest - Lisa Bluhm, and myself - Mrs. Washington 2010!

MENC Northwest Division Conference 2011 - Pre-Conference Advocacy Workshop

I am pictured above with the President of MENC (National Association of Music Education), Scott Shuler (to the left) and the Executive Director of MENC, Michael Butera (to the right) who also served as one of my judges at Mrs. America.
With the Executive Director of the Washington State Music Educator's Association, Bruce Caldwell.

Bruce Caldwell addressing the audience and introducing our distinguished panel of Music Enthusiasts from accross the United States.

Mrs. Pacific Northwest, Lisa Bluhm and Mrs. Thurston County, Dionne Tarter with the President of MENC, Scott Shuler.

The Mrs. America Pageant has been a long time supporter of MENC, so we as local and state delegates of the Mrs. Washington America Pageant were proud to be supporting such a great cause. We had a wonderful time visiting with the President of MENC, Scott Shuler on how we can continue to make a difference by helping to keep Music Education in our schools!

Today, as Mrs. Washington, I had the privilege of being a Table Captain facilitating discussions on how we as music enthusiasts can help keep Music Education alive in our schools. I was definitely in energetic company!

Congratulations Kenny! Hudtloff Middle School Awards Assembly

Kenny and I before Hudtloff Middle School's Awards Assembly
Not only did Kenny receive a Citizenship Award for being the "Most Enthusiastic" student in Math and Science, but he also made the Honor Roll! Whoo-Hoo!

Let the Races Begin! Lakewood Pack 53 Pinewood Derby!

Kenny getting ready to start the races!

Got to love these classic cars! Talented boys in our Pack for sure!

Kenny, Connor and Cody - my helpers!
Cody hummed the National Anthem before the start of the race and didn't miss a note!
I am such a proud Mommy - brought tears to my eyes!
Another successful Pinewood Derby behind us! What a blast!

Delta/Northwest Flight Attendant's Valentine's Day Appreciation Event

Director of Delta/Northwest Flight Attendants Janice Fawcett was so gracious to invite me to greet and celebrate Delta/Northwest Flight Attendants on Valentines Day.

Here I am with Adel who used to fly with our very own beautiful Helen Bacon/Florentine - Mrs. Washington 2000 - before Helen retired to enjoy her new position as a stay-at-home Mommy!