The Greensburg Daily News Wed Feb 16, 2011, 08:19 AM EST
Greensburg — During the 47th annual meeting for the Soil and Water Conservation District, former Miss America, Katie Stam of Seymour, spoke of her rise to the title in 2009, what she’s been up to lately, and the importance of the American farmer.
The night began with a dinner and a reading of the annual report by Pat Grote.
Brian Cruser introduced the two candidates for Supervisor: Jerry Kitchin and Tom Cherry. FFA members passed out ballots to the landowners, and the ballots were picked up as dinner was ending.
Grote then introduced the speaker for the evening, Katie Stam, Miss America in 2009 and fellow Hoosier. Stam began by thanking everyone for having her to the meeting and expressing her appreciation to two little girls who had come that night just to see her. The crowd laughed and gave Stam their full attention as she began talking about how she became Miss America.
As Stam put it, the journey began when she was just three years old, when her dream of becoming Miss American began to bloom. But while the life of Miss American seems glamorous to most, Stam admitted, the reality is much different.
“The very moment that crown is put on your head, the responsibilities start,” she said.
The moment she was crowned, Stam said she was rushed off stage, was given a moment to clean herself up (she had been crying and her Mascara was running) and she had to go right to a press conference without getting a chance to speak to her family. She had a few other meetings to attend, pictures to be taken with corporate sponsors, and at around midnight, she said, she was finally able to spend twenty minutes with her family before beginning her journey.
“Those are twenty minutes I will always remember,” she said.
Stam’s year as Miss America began with a flight to New York City for a number of interviews on different TV shows, including Live With Regis And Kelly and The Today Show. “If you think the life of Miss America is glamorous, I have to tell you it is just a little bit glamorous,” she said. “The rest is just exhaustion.”
All in all, Stam said her year as Miss America included 250,000 miles of travel to three different countries and 32 states, as well as 15 visits to New York City.
However all the travel and busy schedules, Stam said, was worth it, giving her time to speak out about the importance of the Children’s Miracle Network and her own personal platform: Community service and involvement.
Stam said she also spent a lot of time being an advocate for the men and women in the armed forces. She was involved in the USO, Wounded Warrior Project and building homes for military families.
“I had a grandfather who was in the military,” she said. “But you never fully understand military families until you sit down and talk with them.”
Working with the men and women of the armed forces, Stam said, had a very positive impact on her.”
“They are the epitome of what it means to serve,” she said.
Her involvement in soil and conservation, she said, goes back to her childhood, growing up on her parents’ farm which was a, “stone’s throw” away from her grandparent’s farm. And growing up on a farm taught her four principles that became important to her in her life: Hard work, perseverance, patience and understanding.
These principles, she said, gave her a passion for raising awareness about ways to conserve the environment and the importance of the American farmer. And as Stam puts it, she still tries to raise awareness to others, explaining how they themselves can have an impact.
“Miss America was my stage to stand on and talk about topics I care deeply for,” she said. “This district is your stage to stand on and talk about things you care about.”
What she learned growing up on a farm, Stam said, made it possible for her, a farm girl from Indiana, to one day become Miss America.
“I grew up in the right place with the right people around who had the right ideas,” she said.
At the end of her speech, Stam expressed her appreciation for those who work on the farms of the US.
“We feed America because of the work that you do,” she said.
Stam then answered questions from the people in the audience, which gave her a chance to talk about how important her faith in God is, the night her husband proposed to her, and her current projects, which include a children’s book called I Want To Be Miss America, which is a story about a little girl like her who one day grows up to wear the crown. She said she hopes her first book will blossom into a series, and she hopes to write one called I Want To Be A Farmer.
Before the evening came to a close, Tom Cherry was elected the new Supervisor, and the new officials took their oaths of office.
Many stopped to talk to Stam and get their pictures taken with her.
Source: The Greensburg Daily News