Forever Miss Americas join Veterans Legacy Summit festivities

Forever Miss Americas join Veterans Legacy Summit festivities

Posted on October 10, 2014 by Alicia Chalmers

Miss America has always been a wonderful symbol of our country. Over the years, the organization has made a difference in people's lives through countless charitable and community endeavors. Jean Bartel, Miss America 1943, went so far as to use her celebrity in the war effort. She was credited with selling more Series E war bonds than anyone else in the United States - $2.5 million of them. This embodies why the Miss America program exists: to provide personal and professional opportunities for young women and to promote their voices in culture, politics and the community.

We are thrilled that a delegation of five Forever Miss Americas will participate in the Veterans Legacy Summit Nov. 14-15 in Sarasota, Florida. The summit, which is hosted by The Patterson Foundation, unites our nation's leaders as they come together to share ideas, learn about unique partnerships, challenge assumptions and push the boundaries of potential to honor our nation's heroes.

Nicole Johnson, DrPH (and pictured on a tour to Afghanistan), was crowned Miss America in 1999 and is an initiative consultant to The Patterson Foundation through her work to lead Bringing Science Home, a partnership with USF Health focused on empowering people with chronic conditions. With Nicole's help and connection to her Forever Miss America "sisters," they became an integral part of the summit events.

Each Forever Miss America will partner with a local organization during that weekend that aligns with her respective platform and values. With great enthusiasm, each organization has tailored an event that is special and unique.

The engagements are as follows:

  • Ericka Dunlap (Miss America '04) will partner with Visible Men Academy for an event entitled "Gratitude" on Friday,  Nov. 14 at 3 pm at the school.
  • Heather French Henry (Miss America '00) is the Commissioner Kentucky's Department of Veterans Affairs and is partnering with Goodwill Manasota as the keynote speaker at a breakfast related to veterans issues on Saturday, Nov. 15 at 8 am at The Francis.
  • Nicole Johnson, DrPh (Miss America '99) will partner with JDRF for the Pediatric Symposium in Ft. Myers on Saturday, Nov. 15.
  • Sharlene Wells Hawkes (Miss America '85) will partner with the Sarasota Military Academy  at 9:30 am on Saturday, Nov. 15 for "SMA Patriot Day," an event at the new middle school.
  • Kaye Lani Rafko-Wilson (Miss America '88) will partner with Tidewell Hospice as a keynote speaker for a breakfast on Saturday, Nov. 15 at 8:30 am at The Francis.

All of these wonderful and amazing partnerships will honor veterans, inspire patriotism and embrace freedom. The Forever Miss Americas will also be the emcees for Celebrate Service and Sacrifice at Patriot Plaza, a ceremony on Saturday, Nov. 15 at 2:00pm. Miss America continues to symbolize the spirit and passion of our great country and honor service in many different ways!


  • Learn about these and other concepts used in TPF's approach to philanthropy.


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