A truly beautiful Miss America

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 7, 2004

Deidre Downs, Miss America, formerly Miss Alabama is from Shelby County – Pelham to be exact.

She recently had several welcome home festivities in our community.

One such event was held, appropriately, at the Pelham Civic Complex, and I was asked to give the invocation. It was quite an honor.

However, I am the first to admit that I was way out of my league. As a woman in politics, I jokingly remarked that I was used to working with ugly, old men and not beautiful, talented young women.

Guess what – working with those old men is much more comfortable for me.

Needless to say, there were some of the most beautiful young women there that I had ever seen in my life.

Like Deidre Downs wasn’t enough, there was Shannon Camper, the new Miss Alabama, along with Miss Georgia, Miss Washington, Miss Idaho and more.

It’s amazing that God could make such beautiful women with so many other talents and attributes, too.

I felt like Gracie Lou Freebush in the movie Miss Congeniality. If you have never seen it, you should.

It is a hysterical account of a female FBI agent (Sandra Bullock aka Gracie Lou Freebush), who is far from the beauty queen type, but she is called in the line of duty to go undercover in the Miss United States Pageant. The events that follow are outrageously funny.

Along the way, Gracie Lou Freebush learns the truth about beauty queens.

They are not only pretty, have great bodies, good personalities and are talented, but they are highly intelligent, too. That is what I discovered at the homecoming luncheon for Miss America.

Our Miss America, Deidre Downs, has it all. But what I admire most about her is her heart – which is evidenced in her creation of the Making Miracles Program for children with cancer and her future plans to become a pediatric oncologist. That is what makes her even more beautiful to me.

With all the open doors and inviting opportunities she has before her, I am encouraged to know that someone so talented, beautiful and intelligent would be willing to selflessly devote her life to helping children who suffer from such a devastating disease.

That alone qualifies her for a title and a crown, here on earth and one day in heaven.

God bless Deidre Downs – a truly beautiful Miss America in more ways than one.

Beth Chapman serves as Alabama’s State Auditor. She and her husband, James, and two sons, Taylor and Thatcher, reside in north Shelby County. She can be reached at mailto:bethchapman@bellsouth.net