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2019 Ms. Senior Alabama

PHYLLIS HAIN

Ms. Senior Cullman County

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Left to right:

Donna Long - 2nd Runner Up,

Phyllis Hain - 2019 Ms. Senior Alabama

LaVerne Cotney - 1st Runner Up

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Contestants 2019

34th Annual Ms. Senior Alabama Booklet8.

Ms. Senior Alabama 2019 Phyllis Hain

 

The moment she received the news she was nominated to participate in the Ms. Senior Cullman County pageant, Phyllis Hain had no idea the journey she would embark on.Not only did Hain win the Ms. S enior Cullman County pageant in April, but on Saturday, July 13, Hain walked away with the title of Ms. Senior Alabama 2019. “It has been such a remarkable journey so far,” she said. “I was shocked and honored that I had been selected to represent Cullman at the state and now national levels. ”Hain had never competed in pageants before, but was no stranger to the spotlight. She has modeled over the years and even authored a book called a ‘Diamond in the Dark: Leaving the Shadow of Abuse.”

A child of a Marine sent home from World War II, who suffered from acute brain trauma, Phyllis Hain’s book frankly chronicles her struggle to survive devastating domestic violence and spousal abuse by creating two personas: one for the darkness of home, the other for the brilliance of life. Diamond in the Dark aims at helping abuse victims speak up, illustrating that “The silence of shame, empowers the abuser.”

In her talent for the pageant, Hain, who is also an artist, took a synopsis from her book and gave an artistic presentation with a monologue captured from her publication.

“When I decided to be in the pageant, I really didn’t have a specific talent designed for competition. However, I wanted to combine my art and writing, both of my talents together, and do something unique.”

Hain was born on her grandfather’s farm in Samson and grew up in the Gulf Coast of Florida. During 21 years of work with the Department of Defense, she worked as a U.S. Navy Sexual Response Coordinator (SARC) and a Family Advocacy Educator, she taught well over 20,000 students. She did several jobs and spent the first half of with public affairs, as a training facilitator and special event coordinator.

Then she moved to the more serious side of family services carrying a number of different jobs over the next 11 years. She spent several years as the SARC and Family Advocacy Program Educator.

“I worked alongside military and community law enforcement; helped educate first-responders on how to properly document incidents and how to provide sensitive, effective treatment and support to victims of sexual assaults,” said Hain. “We responded to hundreds, if not thousands, of victims in crisis all during my career.” She also received hundreds of hours of training in the field of domestic violence, child abuse, child sexual abuse, sexual assault and victim intervention, and the correlation between animal abuse and domestic violence.

 

As a Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC), Hain trained a cadre of volunteer advocates, usually between 80 and 120 at a time, while on a 24/7 watch to respond to victims.

Just a few highlights of her work over the years include working on the National Joint Task Force in Washington D.C, which studied the problem of sexual assault in the military; working with the National Organization for Victim’s Assistance; serving as Vice President of Northwest Florida’s Victim Coalition; and being selected NASP’s Civilian of the Year for her contribution to the Sexual Assault Victim Intervention Program.

Inspired by interviewing, and responding to many victims and survivors of abuses, she decided to undergo what turned out to be the multi-year ordeal of writing a memoir about her own tumultuous life as the victim of child abuse, child sexual abuse, sexual assault and spousal abuse.

Hain has been happily married to Captain Robert Hain, Medical Corps, (USN Ret.) for more than 20 years. They moved to Cullman not long after they both retired. “We love it here and honestly during the course of time we have been here, I have made a lot of great friends, which actually opened up the pageant door for me,” she said. Hain said through a jail ministry she is heavily involved in, which involves visiting and witnessing to women at the Cullman County jail, she had the opportunity to get to know one of the investigators Brandi Martin Suh. “She was the one who nominated me for the Ms. Senior Cullman County pageant, and at first I wasn’t sure, but just look at the journey it has taken me on since the beginning,” she said. Angie Carter, the Ms. Senior Cullman County pageant director, shared she was extremely proud of Phyllis. “She has represented Cullman very well and we are all extremely proud of her," said Carter.

 

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2018 Ms. Senior Alabama

DONNA HARRIS

Ms. Senior Cullman County

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Donna Harris: Ms Senior Alabama 2018-2019

Melinda Brooks: First runner up

Gwen Baldwin: Second runner up

Marilyn Jent: Ms Congeniality

Donna Harris was crowned Ms. Senior Cullman County 2018. The annual pageant took place at the Betty Leeth Haynes Theatre on the campus of Wallace State Community College in Hanceville.  The competition also featured contestants Jennifer Parker, Janis Simmons, Jolene Hammick, Joyce Weil, Helen Cary and Sandra Griggs.

Harris is a medical sonography instructor at Wallace State, performs volunteer ultrasound services for Sav-A-Life, is active in health and fitness activities, and is a member of Daystar Church. She played Pachelbel’s “Canon in D” on piano for the talent portion of the competition.

 

When the contestants were asked to share their philosophies of life, Harris told the audience: “I believe that healthy living can make a huge impact on our quality of life, regardless of life’s circumstances.  I’ve been in the medical profession for 28 years, and I’ve seen countless people suffer with their health. I’ve held the hand of the dying, and I’ve celebrated new life. “As a senior, what this has taught me is every day is a gift from God to be treasured and cherished, and to live every day to our fullest.  I pray that God will grant me wisdom and His love to continue to grow into the person He created me to be.”

After she claimed the title, Harris was all smiles and almost nonstop giggles for several minutes. Catching her breath, she told The Tribune, “I am shocked! I am thrilled! I just can’t believe it. I’m so happy!  Very honored, very honored.”

2017 Ms. Senior Alabama

Sara Jo Burks

Ms. Senior Troy

2017 Ms. Senior USA 

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Sara Jo Burks is the recipient of a B.S. and Masters of Business Administation, along with post graduate work in Management from Troy University where she has been employed for the past 30 years.  She is the Assistant Director of Housing & Residence Life. She is also an adjunct instructor in the Sorrell College of business and teaches University Orientation.

Sara Jo has been involved in pageants for many years now.  She has held the following titles:  Ms. Sr Pike County 2014; Ms. Sr Shelby County 2015; Ms. Senior Heart of Dixie 2016; and Ms. Sr. Troy 2017. She was honored at the 2017 Alabama State Pageant as the "Peoples' Choice Winner" and was then crowned Ms. Senior Alabama USA 2017.  She directs the "Miss Troy University Pageant," "Tean Trojan Pageant," "Ms. Venus Pageant" and has also co-directed the "Miss Troy Peanut Preliminary Pageant."  She is a qualified Miss Alabama Preliminary Judge and has judged pageants throughout the southeast.  Ms. Burks enjoys helping young ladies achieve their educational goals by earning scholarship money through the pageant system. 

Sara Jo's Philosophy

"My Philosophy of Life states: 'Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.' This quote by Babe Ruth, one of the greatest baseball players of all time, is something I truly believe in.  I believe a dream doesn't disappear just because we age.  It remains in our heart and when we have the opportunity to realize it, we must take that chance. The ending statement to my philosophy of life is this:  'The longest journey begins with a single step.' I invite all ladies over the age of 60 to join me in this journey of a lifetime!'"

Ms. Burks has been the housemother for Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity since the late 90's and enjoys cooking for "her guys" and helping them deal with life issues.  She was featured in their national publication of "The Cross and Crescent" in an article about House Mothers.  She has taught Sunday School at Southside Baptist Church in Troy, Alabama for many years and has sung in the church choir for 36 years. She has also been a soloist and enjoys performing dramatic roles in their musical productions.  Ms. Burks enjoys motivating youth to set goals and reach for those goals and not quit when they don't first succeed.  She plans to speak throughout the state of Alabama to both youth and senior citizens about setting goals and not giving up.

 

 "It has been a wonderful journey on my way to realize the dream of being crowned Ms. Senior Alabama USA 2018.  I have met women who truly embody the 'Age of Elegance.' Their grace and wisdom have served as encouragmeent to me to keep trying.  My husband, Larry, has been my biggest supporter as well as my daughter Misty. I have met such wonderful ladies who have become great friends, and I would have never met them if not for this pageant.  I now consider these ladies as some of my best friends.  As I compete for the title of Ms. Senior USA in  Las Vegas in the summer of 2018, I will carry all  of them in my heart as they are all a part of my journey and I will represent each of them and not just myself."

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2016 Ms. Senior Alabama

Elaine Willingham

Ms. Senior Cullman County

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ELAINE WILLINGHAM, Cullman, Alabama, Ms. Sr. Alabama 2016

Elaine Willingham, owner of the Cullman Ballet Theatre, has an impressive stage history.  When she was only 11, she began training with Anita Burbage, Leading Ballerina Star of Europe.  She then attended the Birmingham Civic Ballet School, and became a member of the Alabama Ballet Company.  She also was accepted into the prestigious Alabama School of Fine Arts as a full-time student.  Elaine was a protege of very distinguished teachers in both the U. S. and Europe.  In her career, she taught ballet at Athens College, Snead Junior College, Auburn University, Huntsville Ballet School and in Paris, France. With this background, she vowed the audience when the took the stage for her talent performance at the Betty Leeth Haynes Theatre in Cullman where she won the title of Ms. Alabama Senior America 2016.

Elaine also has the ability to overcome obstacles to reach her goals.  Approximately ten years ago, she suffered a very serious injury when she fractured her metatarsal.  She hadn't danced onstage since then, so she hesitated to reach outside of her comfort zone.  But, like many of the former Ms. Senior Alabama winners, her daughter convinced her to enter this pageant.  She didn't disappoint her daughter or the audience in the theatre for the Ms. Sr. Alabama Pageant.  She performed her talent with grace and style, spoke her heart in her philosophy and looked like a model in her evening gown.  

She advised other senior ladies who might think of entering the competition in either 2017 or other years that this is a wonderful way to keep learning.  "You get out of your comfort zone, find a wonderful fellowship with other ladies, and it's a great way to boost your self esteem!"

2015 Ms. Senior Alabama

Belynda Sims

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2014 Ms. Senior Alabama

Renee Pierce

Ms. Senior Marshall County

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Renee had an exciting journey from Boaz to the Ms. Sr. Alabama Pageant and from there to the Ms. Sr. America Pageant - a journey of a lifetime with memories that will stay with her forever.

Renee won Third Runner-Up to Ms. Sr. America 2014.

2013 Ms. Senior Alabama

Donna McGuffie

2017 Ms. Senior USA 

2018 Ms. Senior Universe

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DONNA SHAW McGUFFIE - Married to Ron McGuffie for 22 years.  They have 4 children and 8 grandchildren.  She has had a full life with a career in Sales and Marketing.  She also excelled as an "on air" radio personality.  She had several different and hilarious "Personalities."  During that time, she also starred in several local television commercials.  Donna has recently contracted with a recording company to record some classic sngs, primarily from the 50's and 60's.  She currently has a Christmas song available on iTunes.  Veterans' charities are Donna's philanthropy.  She performs at the V.A. Homes in her area and works with the local "Two Hots and a Cot" charity to house homeless veterans.  She has been honored to participate in the largest Veterans' Day Parade in the nation for the past four years and sang the National Anthem at the World Peace Luncheon. Donna is full of life and excited to see what the next phase of life will bring. She hopes that her journey will serve as an inspiration to others.
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2011 Ms. Senior Alabama

Frankie Cashion

Top Ten Ms. Senior America

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2012 Ms. Senior Alabama

Niva Dorough

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2010 Ms. Senior

Brenda Emery

Top Ten Ms. Senior America

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2009 Ms. Senior Alabama

Sally Beth Vick

Top Ten Ms. Senior America

2017 Ms. Senior Louisiana

in Ms. Senior USA

2017-2018 Ms. Super Senior USA

2019 Ms. Super Senior Universe

Winner of 2020 Pageantry Legend Award.

Enjoy Sally Beth's amazing voice during the talent portion of Ms. Senior America, click this link.

Sally Beth Vick was named Ms Senior Alabama 2009 at Mountain Brook High School. Sally Beth is a graduate of Hueytown High School and graduated summa cum laude from the University of Alabama. She retired from the U. S. Small Business Administration as Public Information Officer for the Alabama District Office.She qualified for the Ms. Senior Alabama pageant by winning the Ms. Senior Homewood and Ms Senior Jefferson County crowns in 2008. 

​Sally Beth Vick, Ms. Super Senior Universe 2018-19, Ms. Super Senior USA 2017-18, Ms. Senior Alabama 2009, and Top Ten Ms. Senior America, is a Cum Laude Graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham and was the first recipient of their Art Department's award for Academic Excellence. She served on the UAB Art Gallery's Student Board of Directors. She had a 35 year career with the federal government as a Public Information Officer and as a Business Opportunity Specialist that worked with NASA, Missile Command, GSA, and others to get federal contacts set aside for Minority Women and Women-Owned businesses. She received many awards for her efforts. 

Mrs. Vick was Alabama Women's Business Opportunity Representative of 3 years. She was a judge in the Southeastern Regional Competition for college and university students in free enterprise. She received a commendation form the Alabama House of Representatives, and award from the 2015 Senior Citizens Hall of Fame, and was a Top-15 finalist out of 400 nominations for the Global Beauty Awards "Best Titleist" category. She was President and Woman of the Year for the Xi Upsilon Chapter of Beta Sigma Phi; a service and social sorority. They sponsored a young man with Cerebral Palsy for many years until his death. She has served on the Ms. Senior Alabama Board of Directors for years. She has also written articles for newspapers, magazines, and wrote an article for the Spring 2019 Edition of Pageantry Magazine. She received the Spirit Award from Pageantry Magazine in 2017. She was awarded the 2020 Legend Award by Pageantry Magazine.

Sally Beth has been entertaining in nursing homes for nearly 70 years. She also presents musical programs for retirement, assisted-living, veterans homes, and for community, church, local, state, and national functions. Nothing is more rewarding to her, than to have a resident of a facility with Alzheimer's Disease start to sing a song along with her and know every word of the song! She encourages them to do this. 

She and Jimmy, her husband of over 50 years, have a daughter, 2 grandchildren, a daughter of their heart, and they also sponsor a young girl named Charity through Compassion International. Sally Beth very much enjoys a very full, active, and rewarding life. 

2008 Ms. Senior Alabama

Edwina Chappell

Top Ten Ms. Senior America

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Edwina Chappell, Ms. Sr. Alabama 2008 - RSVP nominated her for a special award presented to her by the Alabama Sr. Citizens Hall of Fame in August of 2017 for giving over 1000 to help seniors of Shelby County. She has received the Spirit Award & Presidential Pin for Service to seniors & many others.

2007 Ms. Senior Alabama

Eleanor Davis

Third Runner Up

Ms. Senior America

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2006 Ms. Senior Alabama

Dianna Murphree

Top Ten

Ms. Senior America

CONGRATULATIONS TO DIANNA MURPHREE, MS. SENIOR ALABAMA 2006-07! - The Western Star - February 5, 2015, Bessemer, Alabama - 'LOCAL ACTRESS RECEIVES BEST ACTRESS AWARD" - Dianna Brown Murphree has been appearing in local theatrical productions for many years. Her August 2014 performance as Amanda Wingfield in the Montevallo Main Street Players' Production of "The Glass Menagerie" by Tennessee Williams earned Dianna the coveted "2014 Broadway World Birmingham Regional Award as Best Local Actress in a Play." A published poet and author, Dianna's work is included in "Grits Guide to Life," and "Ordinary and Sacred as Blood" and "Alabama Women Speak." She performs with and serves as Mistress of Ceremonies with "The Showstoppers" a senior ladies' dance group.

2005 Ms. Senior Alabama

Liz Roberts

Top Ten

Ms. Senior America

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2004 Ms. Senior Alabama

Zemula Bjork

Top Ten

Ms. Senior America

2003 Ms. Senior Alabama

Patricia Johnson

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2002 Ms. Senior Alabama

Thelma McLin

Passed away in Birmingham, AL on 09/27/2013

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2001 Ms. Senior Alabama

Nancy Dean

Nancy Dean, Ms. Sr. Alabama 2001, Top Ten Ms. Sr. America, Mrs. Dean is the past president of the Baldwin County Master Gardeners Association. Mrs. Dean serves on the Foley Beautiful Board and has been instrumental in bringing color to downtown Foley. She has received many awards and recognition for her achievements. She holds a Bachelor of Law Degree. Her hobbies are gardening, sewing, painting and making porcelain dolls.

Gayle passed away 1/31/15. She was an entertainer at heart as well as an avid athlete - softball, bowling and gymnastics, and was the first woman umpire for boys little league. She enjoyed being a part of the "Queens of Entertainment" as a dancer and comic.

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2000 Ms. Senior Alabama

Gayle Hester

1999 Ms. Senior Alabama

Annie Blevins McCray

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Annie was the first black teacher hired at Homewood Jr. High School, where she started in 1969. She holds a Master Degree in Guidance Counseling.

Ms. Sr. Alabama 1998,

Patricia Gunter Odom

Resdies in Montgomery, and 76 as of 2014, a Certified Residential Realtor Specialist - a title held by only 3% of realtors in the U.S. 1983 Montgomery Citizen of the year. JayCes Distinguished Service Award. She is active in community services and supporter of the performing arts.

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1997 Ms. Senior Alabama

Betty Leeth Haynes

Fourth Runner Up

Ms. Senior America

To read Betty's poem

"I am a Senior"

click this link.

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1996 Ms. Senior Alabama

Hattie P. King

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Hattie P. King far left: photo with crown pin from Ms. Senior Alabama, middle photo: 2021 photo, far right: screenshot of an article with a photo of Hattie performing in Ms. Senior Alabama as Tina Turner. Hattie said she looked over the Ms. Senior America pageant from the previous year and decided to do a different routine from the Tina Turner performance for Ms. Senior Alabama. In the national competition, she performed a monologue dance and sang to "Dark Strutters Ball." She wore a pink tuxedo with tails, black shorts, carried a top hat & strutted across the stage. She set her goal to stay within the "Age of Elegance" theme. Hattie told the Tuskegee News that her adrenaline was flowing as the pageant drew near. She was most appreciative of the support she received from her hometown and county. She worked 31 years for the City of Tuskegee, and the last 4 as the City Clerk. Tuskegee News stated, "Young at heart, Mrs. King looks to the concept of 'inner beauty' and being a 'possibility' thinker to carry her through the competition." She still resides in Tuskegee, AL. (From an article in the Tuskegee News.)

1995 Ms. Senior Alabama
Mary Vesta Barnard Russell
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 Mary was born on February 3, 1928, in Birmingham, AL. After graduating from Howard College (Samford University), Mary Vesta taught school for many years. She and her husband, Charles, spent 20 wonderful years raising their daughters, Patti and Kim in Ithaca, NY where Charles was a Professor in the department of journalism at Cornell University. She and Charles were married 34 years before his passing. She was a member of First United Methodist Church in Ft. Smith, where she faithfully served as a soprano in the choir. She also volunteered her time in the Ft. Smith Public School System, where she created a reading/drama program for second-graders, entitled "The Russell Sprouts." Mary Vesta saw a need for exercise among assisted living residents and used her musical talents to create a tambourine exercise group at Willow Brook Retirement Center, aptly named "The Senior Shakers." The Ms. Senior America Pageant proved to be a great vehicle for Mary Vesta to share her love of performing and her musical talents. She was crowned Ms. Senior Alabama in 1995 and after relocating to Arkansas, was crowned Ms. Senior Arkansas in 2005. Mary passed away, April 18, 2009, in Fort Smith, AK. (Information taken from the Birmingham News.)

1994 Ms. Senior Alabama

Elaine Freeman Thomas

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First Runner-Up to Ms. Sr. America. Elaine passed away March 23, 2013 at the age of 89. She was known affectionately as "Pal." She was honored by a funeral conducted by Delta Sigma Theta Omega Sorority. She was an Art Professor for many years at Tuskegee Institute and Curator of Carver Museum. She spent much time in the presence of the renowned Dr. George Washigton Carveer. She was an accomplished musician and played both piano and organ.

1993 Ms. Senior Alabama

Dorothy Drummer

1992 Ms. Senior Alabama

Dorothy Taylor Holt

1991 Ms. Senior Alabama

Johnny Lewis

1990 Ms. Senior Alabama

Marian Nash Yoe

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Ms. Sr. Alabama 1990 - Top Ten Ms. Sr. America Pageant -- is an accomplished artist - and in 2015 at 94, she is still beautiful and active in her hometown. Ms. Yoe was a trained nurse and was married to Dr. Alphus Yoe in 1941, and they became parents of 4 children. She has held membership in the Friends of the Library, Garden Club, Argus Club, Junior Welfare, League, and Daughters of the American Revolution serving as Regent. She has illustrated children's books, and had many shows. Many of her original paintings and limited edition prints are in the collections of corporations and private citizens. In 2015, remains independant in her home of 70 years, where she still paints in her studio and writes poetry. *Update in 2021, in the far picture to the right above, this is Marain Nash Yoe with her Great-granddaughter, Morgan White, a realtor with Keller Williams in Hoover. Morgan studied at Auburn University. Ms. Yoe just turned 100 years old! 

1989 Ms. Senior Alabama

Judy Muntz

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1988 Ms. Senior Alabama

Gilda Wear Campbell

Ms. Senior America 1988!!!

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Gilda sang with Big Bands from age 9, & taught dancing. Later on in her career, she had her own studio and also worked for Auburn University.

1987 Ms. Senior Alabama

Dr. Margaret B. Little

No photo available.

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Elizabeth Barfield

1st or 2nd Runner Up, 

possibly in 1990

Ms. Senior Alabama

Her granddaughter, Kay Martin Isley, sent us the photos and said "She had so much fun and it was fund watching her do it!"

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Betty Leeth Haynes, 1997
Edwina Chappell, 2008
Sally Beth Vick, 2009​​
Donna McGuffie , 2013​
Brenda Emery, 2010
Frankie Frederick, 2011​
Niva Dorough, 2012
 

 

Renee Glass Pierce, 2014
Donna McGuffie, 2013
Edwina Chappell, 2008
Sally Beth Vick, 2009

Winners