Lake Twp. fire queen ready to give up reign
Written by DEBBIE ROGERS Sentinel Staff Writer
Saturday, 28 September 2013 08:12
MILLBURY - After burning up the parade and semi-pageantry circuit for two years, Karris Pugh is ready to hang up her crown.
|Lake Twp. Fire Queen Karris Pugh is seen at the Walbridge fire station. (Photo: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
The Lake High School senior has been Lake Township Fire Queen since her sophomore year. Under the Northwest Ohio Volunteer Firemen's Association rules, she could extend her reign until age 20.
"But most queens hold their reign for two years. Plus I'll be in college. I'll be busy," Pugh said earlier this month, in between post-secondary option classes at Owens Community College and "regular" classes at Lake.
It's difficult to imagine the Northwood teen any busier than she is now.
At Lake she carries a 3.9 grade point average and is involved with Students in Action, marching and concert bands, Teen Institute and French Club. She is a nanny for a Curtice family who has adopted children and also fosters them. And she's the owner of KSP Photography.
"I picked up a camera four years ago," Pugh said, and now she has $5,000 in equipment. She shoots weddings, birthdays and babies.
The photography is more for love than profit.
"I don't do it for the money. I do it because when I'm behind my camera, nothing matters."
Next fall, she plans to study criminology at Bowling Green State University, hoping to go into arson and homicide investigation.
She makes time to put the fire queen crown on any time that she can, calling it a "conversation starter."
Pugh wore it last month when she attended a recent Lake Township Trustees meeting, just to introduce herself, and earlier in the summer to the Wood County Fair. She also has it on when she volunteers for the Lake Township Fire Belles' monthly food pantry. She's participated in dozens of parades and plans on riding in the Apple Butter Fest Parade in Oak Harbor and the Bowling Green Holiday Parade in November.
The first year of her reign she was the grand marshal of the Rally by the Rails parade in Walbridge.
"She has definitely been a face for the fire department," said Elsa Caudill, who is involved in the food pantry and is a member of the Fire Belles.
"She is very active in school and with her church. She is very energetic and happy to help wherever she is needed. She is a very self motivated young lady and has definitely been an asset to our auxiliary and our fire department. We are all very proud of her and her accomplishments as our fire queen."
The competitions Pugh attends aren't like a typical beauty pageant, she said, even though participants don fancy gowns and are judged on interviews.
During one event, Pugh was asked to talk about the best advice she's ever received.
She teared up as she recalled what her grandmother, Donna Luce, always advises.
"My grandmother always tells me never to settle for less than what you deserve."
Pugh's mother, Kay, is also on her list of blessings.
"When my dad left, I was like 8 years old, she's never given up on me," Pugh said. "She's always had a positive attitude about everything I do. She always pushes me."
The competition winners receive savings bonds.
In June, she was crowned first runner-up at the Northwest Ohio Volunteer Firemen's Association convention that was held in Delphos. She was also first runner-up the first year that she competed.
Next year, Northwood is the host city and Pugh hopes to be the "host queen."
She credits Lake Township firefighters Ed Brown and his son Brandon who chauffeuring her to different events, and for just letting her hang out at the Walbridge fire department.
"Without them, it would not be possible," she said of her successful reign. "I love those guys. They're like brothers to me."