Retirement center crowns queen

LAWRENCEVILLE - It was a star-filled event Thursday as Francis Harrell, with a tiara atop her head and a bouquet of roses in her arms, was escorted down the red carpet.

Moments earlier, the 93-year-old had been crowned Ms. Life Care 2009, chosen from six other contestants from Life Care Center of Lawrenceville who were vying for the coveted title.

Silver stars hung, shining, over Harrell's head as she took her victory walk through the center of the audience. The title earns the Georgia native the opportunity to compete for Ms. Georgia Nursing Home in the statewide pageant later this year.

Harrell was crowned by her predecessor, Ms. Life Care 2008 Evelyn Maddox, and was followed down the red carpet by first runner-up Dottie Bunnell, chosen by judges who included Lawrenceville councilwoman Marie Beiser, Cynthia Brown-Bell of Miss Cindy's Dance Studio in Duluth, Central Gwinnett student and 2007-08 Miss Junior Jasmin Griffith, Fox 5 News anchor Russ Spencer and Pastor Fred Youngblood of the Oasis Outreach Center International in Norcross.

"I was proud to win," Harrell said after the event. What does she plan to do as the reigning Ms. Life Care? "Whatever the occasion calls for," she said, "I'll be there to do it."