My Final Farewell

By: ray.perry : June 30, 2012

As this journey of Miss California comes to an end, I look back at all of the footprints who have walked along side me throughout this year, each making their own imprint on my heart and changing my path of life forever...

Mom, Dad and Natalie, your footprints helped me stay on track in times where I couldn't find my own way. You have allowed me to stay grounded in who I am. Thank you for your unconditional love and walking this adventure with me. Chelle Hyde, your footprints have been my steadfast guide. Thank you for teaching me what is expected of me and always going over and above what is needed of you. Your love for this organization and your Miss California's shines from your heart with every step you take. I will cherish our memories that have made this year so memorable. Glenn and Kathi Baldwin, your footprints have protected me as a walked on unfamiliar ground. You have encouraged my every step and for that, I am forever grateful. Your generosity is simply unmatched and your love for service is why you make such an impact on everyone you meet. Nikki Lehman, Your footprints have been so much more than a stylish stiletto imprint. You have helped more than you will ever know. Thank you for helping me blossom into a young women and keeping me looking good while doing it. I will hold our many late nights at your home and out shopping together deep in my heart and want you to know I am grateful to have had you as a stylist, mentor but above all, a friend. Mr. Bob Arnhym, over this year we have walked so closely, our footprints have become one. I know we have both resisted this moment where my footprints end and yours will continue on, but with someone new. I have learned so much from you and want to thank you with all of my heart for giving me and thousands of young women the opportunity to be involved in such a beautiful organization. I know you will remain a mentor and large part of my life.

To every Miss California who walked before me, Thank you for paving the way for a welcoming entrance everywhere I traveled this year. It is because of your hard work and warm heart that I was able to make this walk as Miss California more of a run! Miss California 2012, Leah Cecil, please remember that one who walks in another's tracks leaves no footprints at all. Walk your own journey, create your own legacy and you will have an unforgettable year of service.

Thank you to Judy, Jim, Richard and the American Pistachio Growers for allowing me to be the face of the best pistachios in the world. I am so thankful for your generosity throughout this past year and can't believe our journey together has come to a close. All of our China experiences together will remain some of my favorite memories as Miss California! Please know that your pistachios will always be my favorite snack! Another thank you to the men and women water polo teams who will represent our incredible country at the Olympics! I have had such a fun time with you over this year and hope to remain friends! Make us proud and bring home the gold!

I know this title has made the largest imprint on my life and want to thank all of you who have helped make this year one that will be hard to surpass. With love and the found memories, I'll leave my final footprint here as your Miss California 2011!