Miss Georgia visits Rotary Club

Published 6:52 pm Tuesday, November 4, 2014


Miss Georgia, Maggie Bridges, center, was introduced at Rotary by her friend Lauren Harrell, left. Rotary President Kim Walden is on the far right. — Carolyn Iamon


Maggie Bridges, Miss Georgia 2014, renewed old friendships at Bainbridge Rotary Tuesday where she acknowledged the help she had received from many in the room.
She repeatedly singled out her father for always being there, answering her many questions and sparking her interest in science.
The Georgia Tech student, who is majoring in business administration with a concentration on pharmaceutical information technology, plans to pursue an M.A. in Public Health.
She is currently fulfilling her duties as Miss Georgia, traveling around the state, making appearances and speaking to organizations as she promotes her platform of volunteerism.
She shared some of her experiences, saying you never know what to expect, and that it keeps her on her toes.  One amusing example was when she was invited to come to a small town, just a little larger than her hometown of Brinson. There she was met by a red convertible with the top down in 55 degree weather, and was told the town always has a parade for Miss Georgia. She described riding on the top of the car’s back seat, wearing her crown and waving to non-existent crowds, as she was the only car in the parade.
A dinner was held for her later that evening at a lodge-type restaurant where she was greeted on the porch by an excited special-needs young man who asked, “Are you really Miss Georgia?” When she replied she was she received a big hug from him — one of many she received from him throughout the evening. She said she didn’t think she had ever before been greeted by anyone so glad to see her. She later discovered the family had started the restaurant just for him. This was just one of many rewarding experiences.
Competing in the Miss America contest has been a dream of Maggie’s since she was seven. She said she competed in Miss Georgia contest five times before being successful.  She said the two weeks she spent in Atlanta City produced the most concentrated personal growth she has had in her life — just being without cell phones and not being able to speak with her parents. The competitors spent a lot of time trying to build each other up. “I learned a lot about myself,” she said. She also realized $41,000 in scholarship money.
She urged Rotarians and the many young Grace and BHS Interact students who were guests at the meeting, “to do something you’ve dreamed of all your life. It was an incredible experience, but not what I would want to do the rest of my life,” she says.
Citing her involvement with multiple causes, she also wants to inspire more volunteerism. According to figures attributed to the Department of Labor, only 27 percent of Americans volunteered in an organization in 2012.
“Find an organization you love and get involved,” advised Bridges, who believes the greatest motivation is seeing a need and realizing you have the ability to help another person meet that need.

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