A group of women and girls who were directly affected by last month's tornadoes and their guests recently were treated like princesses by some of the state's beauty queens.
Kasie Head, Miss Oklahoma USA 2002, spearheaded “Queen for a Day,” backed by some of her fellow Oklahoma beauty titleholders and a slew of local and national businesses.
Head, who grew up in the tiny Oklahoma town of Braman, now lives in Los Angeles, working as an interior designer at her own company, KLH Designs.
On May 20, Head was in Los Angeles watching the aftermath of the tornadoes that demolished so many homes and lives.
“I was just watching all this devastation on TV,” she recalls. She had a trip planned to Oklahoma City in June and thought maybe there was something she could do to help.
That's when the idea of “Queen for a Day” was born.
Head decided to find some deserving girls and young women who lost their homes, schools or were otherwise affected by the tornadoes.
She started by emailing some influential friends in Los Angeles, asking for donations of things young women love and need.
“Every single person responded right away,” Head said.
She posted a Facebook request for nominations of deserving young women and, she said, overnight her inbox was flooded with more than 100 nominations.
Head selected a group of 10 and invited them, along with a guest, for a day of pampering, shopping, dining and gifts.
One of the women selected, Emily Mach, 24, of Carney, lost her home.
She was hunkered down in her mother's cellar as the tornado swept Mach's home away, killing about 40 chickens that meant the world to her 5-year-old son.
Since the tornado, Mach, her fiance, her sister for whom she is a caregiver, and her son have lived in her parents' home. They plan to rebuild but there are so many things they'll never be able to replace, such as her son's chickens. She told Head that she'd barely left her parents' home since that devastating day.
“It was a very much-needed getaway,” Mach said. She was amazed, she said, at the lengths Head and the others involved in the project went to make sure that she and others in the group had an unforgettable day.
It also was a bit of a relief, Mach said, to be in a group of young women who have all been through something similar.
“We could all relate to each other because of what we went through,” Mach said. “We could all relate and get away and smile at the end of the day and know that we've made friends out of the deal.”