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Bowling Green native crowned Miss Kentucky

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Bowling Green native Chapel Tinius was crowned Miss Kentucky 2024 during the annual scholarship competition June 15 at SKyPAC.

The 24-year-old was also awarded a $20,000 scholarship from the Miss Kentucky Scholarship Foundation and will represent the commonwealth at the Miss America competition in January.

"I am beyond honored and humbled to take on this role," she said in an email. "Miss Kentucky is a rich legacy of service that I hope to continue."

A graduate of Belmont University and employee of the Veterans Administration in Lexington, Tinius will travel the state representing the Kentucky Department of Agriculture as a spokesperson for its Kentucky Proud initiative, according to information in a news release.

She will also make KDA appearances to promote farm safety on behalf of KDA's Mobile Science Activity Centers and Raising Hope, which promotes the mental and physical well-being of Kentucky's farmers and families.

She plans on spending time in all 120 counties promoting healthy and local foods as well as homemade Kentucky Proud products and, because of her work with veterans, she would like to bring a veteran to as many community events as possible.

Tinius, who was born and raised in Bowling Green, is the daughter of Jim and Dana Tinius and the granddaughter of two World War II veterans, which is why she chose "Operation Gratitude: For the Fallen, For the Fighting, For the Veterans" as her community service initiative.

Tinius said when she was a little girl, she would go on walks with her grandfather and when she reached up for his hands, she would "instead find metal hooks due to a land mine explosion during World War II."

When she was 6, she organized a community service project for the military community by asking her classmates to donate a children's book and VHS tape to be sent to deployed soldiers.

"The soldier could then read the story and send it home as a bedtime story for their little one," she said. "After this, I remember my papaw entrusting me with his Purple Heart for 'safekeeping.' I always found it so intriguing how he used the word safe, because some had given so much or even everything to protect us."

Since the inception of Operation Gratitude, Tinius has run over 25 half marathons and three full marathons to raise funds for the Honor Flight Network. She also started her own 10k series," Run to Fly," where she runs 10 10Ks in 10 days in 10 different Kentucky counties to fundraise for Honor Flight Kentucky.

She recently partnered with Honor Flight Kentucky to implement the inaugural Youth Ambassador Program. In May 2021, 2022 and 2023, she served as a National Relay team member with Carry The Load, a nonprofit that focuses on finding an active way to restore the meaning of Memorial Day.

She said that her favorite project so far has been creating a violin/harp CD titled "Gratitude," which has been gifted to veterans as a music therapy tool.

"I watched how music helped heal my papaw," she said. "It was a huge part of his journey to being the man he was and finding the joy in what could have been the worst."

During her childhood in Bowling Green, she sang at First Baptist Church and performed in several musicals and plays in southcentral Kentucky, playing harp at various events and her fiddle in the Red River Fiddlers Band for 12 years.

Tinius said she is excited to bring the title of Miss Kentucky to Bowling Green again and was in shock when her name was called as the new Miss Kentucky. Last year, Bowling Green's Mallory Hudson won the title.

"It's hard to imagine the stars aligning," she said. "This has been a dream of mine since the age of 8 when I was a little Bluegrass sister to Ann-Blair Thornton. She embodied what it meant to use the platform to serve others."

She said it was that example of service that drew her to the Miss Kentucky opportunity.

"After a decade of participating, I am so grateful to get to take on this role that feels divinely provided, and plan to use this opportunity to serve the Lord," she said.

Tinius said she wouldn't be where she is today had it not been for the people of Bowling Green "who encouraged me every step of the way."

"It takes a village, and I can say so strongly that it wouldn't have been the same without the community here," she said.

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