EASLEY—Easley native Maegan Garner, is trying her luck in the 2012 Miss South Carolina Pageant, which is currently being held at the Township Auditorium in Columbia, S.C. from July 10-14.
She is a former Miss Easley High and graduate of the 2007 class, and is currently attending the nursing program at Greenville Technical College.
After High School, while job shadowing at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, Maegan had the opportunity to learn more about the diversity of patient treatment and patient care, but it was in High School that Maegan discovered her love for pediatric nursing while conducting her senior project in the Children’s Pharmacy at Easley Pediatrics.
Following her Miss Easley title in 2010, Maegan was involved in an auto accident in Greenville.
“On November 19, 2010, after I had just finished lunch with my mother, I was going to make a left hand turn onto Laurens Road when a motorcyclist, who did not see me, collided with the rear of my vehicle. Unfortunately, he was not wearing a helmet and later succumb to his injuries at the hospital,” said Garner.
It was early the next year that Maegan created her platform, SMART RIDER, which advocates helmet safety and head trauma awareness.
A platform is an issue that every Miss South Carolina Pageant contestant is required to promote.
“The accident made me realize that life is precious and an accident can happen at the drop of a hat. It has also inspired me to educate others and to share my story in hopes that they will wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle or bicycle” said Garner.
The state of South Carolina does not require a motorcyclist over the age of 21 to wear a helmet while operating a motorcycle, but there are programs encouraged to riders like the Ride Smart Program through the South Carolina Department of Public Safety.
The Ride Smart Program is designed to help riders gain the necessary experience to avoid deadly collisions.
“Hopefully in the future if legislators don’t mandate the use of helmets, they will make it mandatory for riders to take a motorcycle safety course just like driver education classes,” said Garner.
Earlier this year, Maegan began preparing for the Miss South Carolina Pageant by winning the Miss Hilton Head Island title.
The Miss Hilton Head Island is a preliminary competition to the Miss South Carolina and Miss America pageants.
Her preparation also includes a personal trainer here in Easley and another in Atlanta, Georgia, a dance coach, mock interviews, wardrobe preparations, community services and public appearances like speaking to kids about bicycle safety.
“In May of this year, I had the opportunity to go back to my elementary school in Easley and partner with Safe Kids Upstate and Baptist Easley Hospital to speak about my platform and the importance of bicycle safety. We gave out 500 bicycle helmets to six different elementary schools in Pickens County,” said Garner.
The Miss South Carolina Pageant can be streamed live at http://www.miss-sc.org/.
For more information on SMART visit Maegan Garner/Smart Rider on Facebook.