As this week’s Mississippi Miss Hospitality competition concludes during today and tomorrow’s on-stage events, Carly Belue, representing Lowndes County, is working hard to not only promote her own community but also to represent Lake Little who was selected as Starkville’s Miss Hospitality before her death as the result of a tragic plane crash earlier this month.
Charity, friendship and community were three areas of Little’s life that she dedicated her time and heart to serving, and while the girls only met for the first time at their local title crowning in March, Belue said Little’s dedication and loving spirit were easy to see.
“She was way ahead of me,” Belue said. “She was already prepared and ready for this. Just in that short time together, you could just tell how genuine and kind she was. This competition and what the pageant stood for meant something to her.”
Paige Crane, director of communications and digital strategies for Visit Hattiesburg, said the organization is working to honor Little and her memory in several ways, most notably the naming of the Spirit of Hospitality award after her.
“That award is a scholarship prize voted on by the contestants,” Crane said. “We chose that award because we really felt like Lake embodied what hospitality was and made connections wherever she went. The person who is typically chosen for that award is the person who connects the girls all week and makes true friends.”
For more on Belue and Miss Hospitality, see Friday's Starkville Daily News.