March 1, 2017 – Ten contestants competed in the annual Ms. Senior
Care Center-St. Marys pageant on Feb. 22, with Ethel Dawson, 56, winning
the 2017 title. It was a crowning achievement considering doctors didn’t
expect her to make it through the night following a stroke seven years
ago. Later this spring, Dawson will go on to compete for the state title
at the Ms. Georgia Health Care Association Pageant in Atlanta.
To crown a winner, judges awarded points on the contestants’ overall
appearance, personality, attitude towards life and how they answered questions
about life’s special moments, and who they admire the most and why.
When asked about life’s special moments, Dawson replied, “The
day that God pulled me through the stroke I had. The day God allowed me
to live even though the doctors gave up on me. I’m still here.”
Even before being crowned, Dawson had perfected her wave as she greeted
a full-house of family, friends, residents and staff assembled to cheer
the contestants on. Originally from Grove Hill, Ala., Dawson said her
favorite activity is singing and her hobbies include dancing, water color
painting, reading the Bible and praising the Lord.
First runner-up was Theresa Budzinski, 89, who enjoys dancing, word puzzles,
knitting, board games and puzzles. Her life’s special moments were
the day she had each of her children. She says, “I still remember
it like it was yesterday.”
Annie Roberts, 81, was the second runner-up. She enjoys movies, hanging
out with her Red Hat friends and spending time with her grandchildren.
Her favorite activity is shopping, and she noted that joining the Red
Hat Club was her life’s special moment.
Third runner-up was Joyce Garcia, 77, who said her life’s special
moment was, “The day I woke up in the Grand Canyon and saw the sunrise.
That was a beautiful day.” Drawing and arts and crafts are Garcia’s
favorite activities, but she also enjoys quilting, painting, crocheting
Special guest Aubrey Braun, Miss Wildcat 2017, presented each runner-up
with a bouquet of roses and crowned Dawson as the winner. Event emcee
Patty Crosby, vice president of development, Hospice of the Golden Isles,
introduced each contestant and asked them the interview questions.
Other contestants included: Elaine Burns who is happy to be alive and enjoys
spending time with family and friends, reading and playing bingo; Joyce
Myers recalls renewing her wedding vows as life’s special moment,
and she enjoys sewing and singing; Ardiena Nunnally enjoys dancing, singing,
socializing and playing ball and says the day she married the love of
her life, Benjamin Nunnally, is her life’s special moment; Patricia
Rumptz says accepting the Lord as her savior is her life’s special
moment, and she enjoys loving on people, singing, volleyball and watching
television; Brandi Smith, who enjoys singing, Zumba, bingo, exercise class,
helping staff and coloring, says going to New York to sing was her life’s
special moment; and Gladys Ford, whose hobbies include going to church,
singing and praising the Lord, says her life’s special moment is
the day she gave her life to the Lord.
This year’s pageant judges included Sara Hanna, R.N., Nina McEachin,
Fostina Mitchell, Ed.D. Vivian Mitchell, Ed.D., and Paula Veno. Escorting
the contestants were Uniform Patrol Commander Shannon Brock, St. Marys
Police Department; retired U.S. Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer Sewell
(Tom) Brown; U.S. Navy Lt. Falanda Culp; Petty Officer 2nd Class Richard
Morgan; Petty Officer 2nd Class Andrew Pierce; Petty Officer 2nd Class
Clay Presny; Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Robinson; Marcel Myers, husband
of contestant Joyce Meyers; Ezell Dawson, husband of contestant Ethel
Dawson; and Bryant Walker Jr., football player, Camden County High School.
Music was provided by Bill Bruce, Joshua Patterson and Charlie Freeman.
The pageant was coordinated by Liz Brown and Johndrell Walker, activity
specialists, Senior Care Center-St. Marys.