Faith motivates new 'Miss America' from Oregon

By RICHARD KOE

GRESHAM -- Katie Harman, the 21-year-old Portland State University speech communications major who became the first Miss America from Oregon on Sept. 22, is a humble, “everyday sort of person” who grew up in a tight-knit, deeply Christian middle-class family in Gresham.

The millions who watched the pageant nationally saw a visible sign of Harman’s faith at the moment of her crowning as she looked heavenward and could be seen mouthing the words “thank you.”

Katie and her sister Stacey, together with their parents, Glen and Darla, are longtime members of Sunnyside Foursquare Church in Clackamas.

Katie and Stacey are active in the church’s college group, and parents Glen and Darla both serve on the elder board. Glen is also the adult education eirector.

Pastor Randy Sanford said the Harmans are defintely a valuable part of Sunnyside Foursquare Church. He and the 1,500-member congregation sent congratulatory messages to Katie and the family and look forward to seeing the new Miss America when she returns home and attends church again, perhaps this fall.

Plans call for Harman to return to Oregon on Oct. 20 for a special ceremony in Seaside, site of the Miss Oregon Pageant. That weekend she also will crown her replacement as Miss Oregon, George Fox University student Heidi Lynn Rickey, who was runner-up in the state pageant.

Katie, a 1999 honors graduate at Centennial High School, plans to work in the field of bioethics. She said she would use her role as Miss America to promote support for terminal breast cancer patients and to help unify the nation in wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C. In her first week, she toured the World Trade Center site, the Pentagon, and New York Stock Exchange; met with New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani; and did many television appearances and press interviews.

 
 

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