VIDEO: Miss New Jersey's Junior National Teen Celebrates Veterans DayPosted:
ATLANTIC COUNTY - Volunteers took to the Atlantic County Veterans Cemetery to lay flags for the thousands of veterans laid to rest.
Among those volunteers is New Jersey royalty and she has a special reason as to why she dedicated her time.
“My father is buried over in that section,” said Samantha McConaghy, Miss New Jersey’s Junior National Teenager.
At just six years old, McConaghy lost her father. Tyrone McConaghy fought in the Persian Gulf War with the U.S. Coast Guard and lost his life in April of 2007.
“I saw when I came to visit him one day there were flags placed out and I remember seeing some of the people put them down," said McConaghy. "So I asked them how I could get involved and they told me I could sign up and help put some flags down if I wanted to.”
Combining her drive for volunteerism and dedication to fallen vets, she was awarded the Quality of Life Award out of 100 girls between the ages of nine and 24 at a national competition.
“They explained I had the most community service they’ve seen for that whole pageant day," said McConaghy. "And I was one of the youngest ones there and I still have my 4.0 so they took me out of the group and I was chosen.”
Placing the flags this Veterans Day marks the third time she’s participated in this project.
“Without them giving up their lives we wouldn’t be able to do the daily activities we take for granted," said McConaghy. "So I like coming out here to put the flags down to honor them.”
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