Mary Beth Sallee
Reporter, Hart County News-Herald
When Andrew and Leia Tucker’s second child, Levi, was born, it was anything but a walk in the park.
Levi was born with underdeveloped lungs, and he spent the first week of his life at Norton’s Children Hospital. During this difficult time, his parents were blessed to stay at the Ronald McDonald House (RMH) and not worry about the expense of a hotel.
“This allowed us the freedom to focus solely on our sweet boy,” Leia said. “The RMH provides low cost to free lodging for families while their children or loved ones are in the hospital. On top of lodging, they also provide meals for the families staying there with the help of community members and monetary donations.”
Today, Levi is four-years-old and thriving. So much so, in fact, that he currently holds the title of Mister U.S. as part of the AmeriFest pageant organization.
“Levi’s aunt, Jennifer Bailey, has a strong history in pageants, previously being crowned the 2018 Mrs. U.S.,” Leia said. “Levi started asking if he could start competing. Once he started and won his first bike, he was hooked with going on stage and showing out.”
But beyond the lights and crowns, Levi is learning at a young age to use his pageantry platform to help others.
“When Levi was crowned Mister U.S., we asked him how he would like to help others,” Leia explained. “Levi’s response was, ‘I want to do something to help kids.’ We decided on the Ronald McDonald House as this is a special place to our family.”
As a way to raise money for the RMH, Levi and his family are hosting the Springtime Beauties charity pageant.
Springtime Beauties will be held on Saturday, April 17 at the Hardyville Community Center. The pageant is open to girls ages 0 to Mrs. and boys ages 0 to 7-years-old. Registration for ages 0 to 7 will begin that day at 9 a.m. with the pageant beginning at 9:30 a.m. Registration for ages 8 and up will begin at 10:30 a.m. with the pageant beginning at 11 a.m.
The cost to participate in the pageant is $25 and includes beauty and optionals, which are prettiest eyes, prettiest hair, prettiest smile, and most photogenic. All contestants can preregister and prepay by contacting Leia. Cash only will be accepted on the day of the pageant.
Leia stated that 100% of the pageant proceeds will go directly to the Ronald McDonald House.
“We are hoping to be able to donate enough money for them (the RMH) to provide several meals for families staying there,” Leia said.
When Levi was asked why he wanted to help the Ronald McDonald House, he said, “I just want to be nice to the people. I want to give them some money so they can help the other families.”
It is both the hope and prayer of Leia and Andrew that their children will learn to bless others as they have been blessed.
“We want Levi to understand that even when we have personal successes, the Lord will provide a way to use that to help others,” Leia said. “We want our children to understand that while we are very blessed by what the Lord has provided us with, there are many families in need. We strive to instill a servant’s heart in our children so that they are always willing to help others.”
For more information about the Springtime Beauties charity pageant, contact Leia Tucker at 270-528-1541.