HOWLAND - Being Miss Ohio brings with it a busy schedule commitments across the state and around the country. Given the crown in 2013, Howland native Heather Wells still finds plenty of time to give back to the community. Wells' charitable nature along with her prestigious position has led to her being selected as a 2014 Community Star.
"I am beyond honored to be nominated for the Community Star award," the 24-year-old Wells said. "Growing up in Trumbull County, I've seen how dedicated and motivated the members of this community truly are, and to be chosen as one of the most prominent individuals is extremely humbling."
Nominated by her mother, Andrea, Wells is the founder of Divorce Recovery for youth, which partners with YMCA.
Also, she founded the Operation: Supply Our Soldiers (SOS), which sent care packages to members of the 910th Airlift Wing.
"Heather has always been involved in the community," her mother said. "It started at a very young age, being in 4-H and doing community service projects."
Being the child of divorce, Wells' Divorce Recovery program allows her to reach out to children who may have similar experiences at home.
"My parents divorced when I was 2 years old and I really struggled with understanding what divorce means," Wells explained. "Divorce is an adult problem. Like most kids, I blamed myself for my parents' divorce and it bothered me for many years.
"That's why I like to focus on helping kids who may be dealing with the same obstacles," she continued.
In addition, Wells is an animal lover and has taken part in a myriad of animal-related programs.
"I became passionate about a local organization dedicated to helping feral cats in the area with Trap, Neuter, Release (TNR)," Wells said.
With TNR, cats are spayed and neutered, given the shots they need and then released back into the wild. This helps control feral populations.
A 2007 Howland High School graduate, Wells received a bachelor's degree from Kent State University in 2012. During her time at KSU, Wells appeared on the Dean's List and was also a recipient of the Kent State Student Leader of Excellence award.
Wells now hopes to obtain a master's degree in nutrition, while also being interested in a career in the media.
"I have a love and passion for media, writing, communications and people," Wells said. "I would love to begin a career in public or media relations utilizing all of the skills I've attained this past year working as Miss Ohio."
In the meantime, Wells plans to continue traveling the state and inspiring people of all ages with her positive outlook.
"Seeing the impact that Miss Ohio can have on people is what truly makes my job incredible," Wells said. "Sometimes after a long day I will search (Twitter) for Miss Ohio and will see someone tweet about how much an autographed picture means to them.
"I believe that kindness can go a very long way, and being a positive role model is incredibly rewarding. So many Miss Ohios from the past have inspired me, and the fact that I am now in a position to inspire others to aspire for their dreams is the best part about it," she continued.