Miss Veteran crowned

LIHUE — Athena Abadilla was crowned Miss Veteran Wednesday during the Kauai Veterans Council meeting at the Kauai Veterans Center.

The Waimea High School senior will serve through the summer of 2016 as the ambassador for veterans on Kauai through the Kauai Veterans Council. She will make her debut Nov. 7 at the Veterans Day Parade in Lihue.

“She’s the second one,” said Dan Abadilla, Athena’s father. “Her sister Natasha also served as Miss Veteran in 2009 through 2010.”

The sister act is not limited to the Miss Veteran position.

Athena comes with a background of being the two-time Kauai District Spelling Bee winner, a title she also shared with her sister, both representing the St. Theresa School. Both also ran cross country and played soccer in high school.

Dan said Athena has her share of accomplishments. She is on the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative Youth Tour, an honor she also shares with her sister, and has been selected as an intern to serve with U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz.

Mary Kay Hertog, a retired general from the U.S. Air Force, said the competition for Miss Veteran was keen this year, with seven contestants.

“When it came to Athena, she hit the interview portion out of the ballpark, soared in the grade point average, and having her a leader of so many activities is wonderful,” she said. “She could have a career with the military.”

Athena said among the field of contestants, there were several who serve with her in the Waimea High School JrROTC program.

“I didn’t even tell Major Victor Aguilar, the JrROTC director, I was running,” Athena said. “When I got the phone call from Charlene Dorsey, the Miss Veteran Committee Chair, I didn’t even tell the other girls running for the title. I’ll let them find out through the newspaper.”

In addition to the Veterans Day Parade, Abadilla will represent the Kauai Veterans Council at other military observances including Veterans Day and Memorial Day.

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