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Soldier Wins Pageant Award


March 23, 2012

The Salvation Army l Cascade Division
8495 SE Monterey Blvd
Happy Valley, OR 97086
(503) 794-3200
The Salvation Army Shield


Major Don Gilger
Portland Metro Coordinator

Teresa Engel
Communications & Marketing Associate

Salvation Army Portland Tabernacle Soldier Wins Pageant Award Wearing Outfits from Local Thrift Store.

(Portland, OR) - Several thrift store outfits made a flashy comeback on Saturday, March 10th at the 2012 Mrs. Oregon International Pageant. Mrs. Lauralee Balash, Mrs. Portland 2012, who is a soldier and a volunteer leader at The Salvation Army Portland Tabernacle, competed for the title wearing outfits she found at her local Salvation Army Family Store. At the end of the night, Mrs. Lauralee Balash did not win the title of Mrs. Oregon International, but she did officially cross off “compete in a pageant” from her bucket list and had the night of her life; it was the following day th at she received a very special pageant surprise!
Competing in a pageant was something she had always wanted to do, so when Lauralee found out about the Mrs. Oregon International Pageant, she knew that this was her moment, especially since health conditions could possibly restrict her from pageant participation in the future. Her moment arrived on Saturday, March 10th, and those who watched her compete said that she excelled from the first moment she stepped on stage.

In her official interview, Lauralee, who was recognized as someone who likes a good deal, was asked to share one of her favorite all-time deals. She quickly launched into the amazing deals that can be found at The Salvation Army Family Stores and that all of her pageant attire was acquired at the Happy Valley Family Store. Then, when she was asked about her platform, she simply said: The Salvation Army. She explained that she chose this platform because The Salvation Army and its programs were there to help her family through a very difficult period. She was transparent and in being that way, she seemed to pull the audience to her.

Even though she did not win the title, she competed with poise and grace and instead won the hearts of her fellow contestants.

But her night was not over yet.

Sunday morning following the pageant, Lauralee received a call from the pageant official telling her that an error had been made the night before, and that she had tied with a fellow contestant for Miss Congeniality. Lauralee was to receive her award in the mail.

“When I found out, I immediately called the pageant official to ask if she would do an official presentation at our next Sunday's Holiness Meeting,” says Major Nancy Dihle, Corps Officer at The Salvation Army Portland Tabernacle. “I felt that at least it allowed Lauralee to be acknowledged in front of a large group and in fact, it would be her spiritual family who supported her through the pageant process.”

The new Mrs. Oregon International, Jaileene Eubanks, surprised Lauralee at Sunday’s meeting and recognized Lauralee's significant influence on the other women in the pageant. Mrs. Oregon shared that Lauralee's gentle spirit was known to all, and her faith was bright and shining in her personal interactions with the other contestants and pageant officials. She then presented Lauralee with a beautiful, ornate Miss Congeniality award.

Lauralee was a princess for a night and truly proved to herself that she could do it, rocking her thrift store fashion finds and leaving lasting impressions along the way!

About The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the Universal Christian Church, has been supporting those in need in His Name without discrimination since 1865. Nearly 33 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through providing food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing, shelter and opportunities for underprivileged children. The Salvation Army works in 124 countries worldwide. People wishing to make monetary donations can do so by calling 503-794-3282, or by mail to The Salvation Army, 8495 SE Monterey Avenue #9, Happy Valley, OR 97086.
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