Soldier crowned Miss Kentucky State

Story and photos by 1st Lt. Gus LaFontaine, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

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Spc. Chelsea Hardy of Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 376th Aviation holds her crown as 2012 Miss Kentucky State in Frankfort, Ky. The maintenance clerk, in uniform, is also a dancer for the school band and majors in social work. (Kentucky National Guard photo by 1st Lt. Gus LaFontaine)

FRANKFORT, Ky. — At first glance, you may wonder who is the Soldier holding a crown from the cockpit of an OH-58 Kiowa helicopter.  Upon further investigation, you would learn that this is Spc. Chelsea Hardy, of C Company, 1st Battalion, 376th Aviation Regiment and Miss Kentucky State University.  On April 9, 2012 Hardy was crowned the university’s 83rd Miss Kentucky State.  It was the culmination of a process that began her freshman year as a brand-new college student in Frankfort, Ky.

“I remember being at freshman orientation and seeing Miss Kentucky State,” said Hardy.  “And I thought to myself, I could never do that! I shunned the idea.”

Her confidence grew over the next few years of her college career.  When Hardy was a junior she ran for Miss Junior Kentucky State.  That competition ended in victory for Hardy and then catapulted her confidence forward insomuch that she chose to run for the university’s most prolific pageant the following year.

However, there were other events happening in the background.  In 2009 Hardy chose to join the Indiana Army National Guard.  Despite being a resident of Indianapolis, her time in the Indiana Guard was short-lived.  As Hardy searched for a college, she soon found herself heading south to Kentucky State University.

“I really enjoy dancing,” she said.  “I chose to come to Kentucky State because they offered an opportunity to dance.”

Hardy participates as a dancer with the K-State band.  It was in Frankfort that she chose to transfer into the Kentucky Army National Guard.  She serves as a maintenance clerk for aviation and ground support.  Her service in the Guard helps her finance college and has also given her valuable training that she has applied to her pursuit of Miss Kentucky State.

“Miss Kentucky State is required to have a platform,” said Hardy.  “I chose to focus on selfless service from the Army Core Values.  I built my campaign around that platform.”

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Spc. Chelsea Hardy of Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 376th Aviation holds her crown as 2012 Miss Kentucky State in Frankfort, Ky. The Indianapolis, native, ran her campaign for the crown on the Army Value, selfless service. (Kentucky National Guard photo by 1st Lt. Gus LaFontaine)

Hardy worked very hard to take a service-minded approach to the Miss Kentucky State pageant.  She made efforts to improve campus life by planning entertaining events for the student body.

“I organized a campus wide event called ‘It Pays to be a Gentleman.’  Female students held a contest for the men on campus to participate in.  The women judged the men in five categories.  The winner received $100.”

Hardy offered the cash reward from her own pocket.

“I wanted to pay the best gentleman for his leadership in hopes to encourage other males on campus to demonstrate the same qualities.”

Her service doesn’t stop there.  During her Miss Kentucky State tenure she plans to serve in local nursing homes, a women’s battery shelter and a food kitchen.  She also plans on serving with the Promising Youth Center.  The center is sponsored by Kentucky State University and provides after-school programs for Frankfort youth.

With a full-plate as Miss Kentucky State University and the regular assignments that come with studying social work as a student, you might think that Hardy is content.  This is not the case.

“I have goals in the Kentucky Guard,” she said.  “Later this year I want to compete in our Command Sergeant Major challenge that encompasses various Army Warrior Tasks.”

Maj. Jeremy Kearney, Hardy’s commander for the last year and a half, expressed his confidence.

“I have seen her grow as a soldier.  Spc. Hardy is confident in her ability to execute her job and it’s evident in her performance.”

With such an endorsement and a service-oriented approach, she might just earn a crown Soldiering.

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