Monday, June 29, 2009

Farewell.

Fourteen hours after I was crowned Miss Vermont 2008 I was at my very first appearance. Through my excitement and adrenaline a sincere realization came to light. Young girls were looking up at me saying “I want to be just like her.” It was then the enormity of my responsibilities hit me.

Favorite moments of my reign include singing at Fenway Park on Vermont Day, winning my Preliminary Talent night at Miss America, working with eco-friendly gown designer Tara Lynn on the first Green Gown to grace the Miss America competition, registering voters at college and high school campuses around the state, filming Countdown to the Crown in Los Angeles, making appearances with Miss America and cheering on Blaize in Orlando, visiting over 20 Elementary and Junior High Schools writing anti-tobacco legislation with the students, singing at the TD Banknorth Garden for the Boston Celtics, and many many more.
It is hard to believe a young woman can have all these experiences in one year. I have been truly blessed by my involvement in this organization. The places I have been and the things I have done could not have been possible without some very special people.

Voice coach extraordinaire Shyla Nelson helped me to connect vocally and spiritually to not only every performance but to everyday life. Shyla’s countless training sessions and friendship were a gift from above. From the very first session I knew I would blossom and grow vocally from her technique and her presence in my life.

The best trainer in the state is Mr. David Chess, and I am lucky enough to call him mine. As my trainer, psychologist, nutritionist, and friend David has seen me at my best and worst many times with no make-up, no energy, and sometimes…little patience. He donated hundreds of hours of one-on-one training to me in his semi-private facility in South Burlington. I am proud that Exercise America is the gym of Miss Vermont!

My fuel-efficient Suzuki SX4 saw me to every corner of this state and even appearances all over New England. The generosity and patience of the team at Quality Suzuki in Saint Johnsbury including Shelley and Mike Martin and owner Able Toll is unparalleled. I am proud to recommend their dealership to anyone looking into a new vehicle.

The Lyndon Area Chamber of Commerce was my financial saving grace this year. The Lyndon Chamber stepped up and provided me with an unsolicited$1000 in gas cards which I am so pleased to say have lasted me the rest of my reign. This generosity was one of the greatest surprises and assistance of my year.

I have always believed that God puts people in our lives purposefully. God knew I would be Miss Vermont someday and knew I would need people to support me during my year like my home away from home family, the Heroux’s. Without their flexibility, hospitality, and generosity I would not have made as many appearances as I did this year. Thank you for opening your home and hearts to me.

The Miss Vermont Board of Directors under the leadership of Amy, Sarah Jo ,and Hannah has seen tremendous growth in only five years. Thank you to the Board for being there when I needed you. Thank you to Hannah for organizing my voter registration drive and Barb for scheduling countless appearances and school visits. Thank you Sue Lackey for your assistance in wardrobe, packing, and walking leading up to Miss America.

To all my friends and family that supported me here in the state and travelled to Las Vegas to cheer me on including Amanda, Dan, Grammy Ruth, Gram Fay, Aunt Liz, SMC pals, and hometown crowd…to name a few…your enthusiasm helps me to look back on this whirlwind year and know just how loved I am. My cheering section at Miss America was loud and passionate and I loved every second of it! Thank you for being there.

Michael, relationships can sometimes fall by the wayside during a woman’s reign. No matter how busy or stressed I could be you were there to pick up the pieces and how you do that even via phone and skype is a real mystery. You were more supportive and steady than I could have asked for. Thank you for your love, commitment, and patience as I chased my dreams.
Finally, Mom and Dad. When I left your home nine years ago you quoted Leann Wolmack and told me “When you get the choice to sit it out or dance. I hope you dance. “ I know you meant that and so here I am, dancing through life everyday, following my heart and chasing my dreams. Because of you I won’t look back at my life and wonder ‘what if?’ You are my greatest blessing and reason I am who I am and do what I do. I only pray that every child should have the foundation in life you have layed for me.

With gratitude I say goodbye to an amazing chapter in my life. May the next Miss Vermont have a full and blessed reign.

1 comment:

Kim said...

I'll miss reading your blog as Miss Vermont, but I know you have many new and exciting opportunities and adventures waiting for you. Good luck Ashley and congratulations on your new adventure with Michael!

love always,
K.B.