By Nathan Pilling
BEAVERCREEK — When she was crowned Miss America 2016 back in September, Betty Cantrell likely didn’t expect to be in a Dayton suburb, a few months later making pancakes. But that’s the life of the winner of that national competition, which has its title holder criss-cross the country promoting various causes and events, in the year after she is crowned.
And so, there she was at the Beavercreek IHOP Thursday morning as a spokesperson for IHOP’s upcoming charity fundraiser. Cantrell beamed for pictures for camera crews and excited parents alike, poured and monitored pancakes, and chatted with restaurant patrons throughout the morning.
“It’s great to meet all the different people and go to all these different places,” she said of her duties during a brief break from pancake production. “I’m from the south, so Ohio is very different to me.”
Cantrell’s appearance locally comes in advance of National Pancake Day, March 8, when IHOP restaurants throughout the country will offer customers a free short stack of pancakes. For each stack of pancakes, patrons are invited to donate to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and other local causes, according to a release from IHOP. Funds raised at Dayton-area IHOP restaurants will benefit Dayton Children’s Hospital.
“The Miss America Organization’s national platform has always been the Children’s Miracle Network Hospital,” Cantrell said. “We do everything that we can to contribute to the hospital in any way that we can.”
When asked about her opinion of the Beavercreek and Dayton area, Cantrell, a Georgia native, lamented the cold weather, but appreciated the local friendliness.
According to IHOP, the company served 6.6 million free pancakes on National Pancake Day 2015, and patrons donated $3.5 million to children’s charities. The chain has pledged to raise the same amount as part of this year’s National Pancake Day activities.
“We are excited to have Betty joining us as a spokesperson for National Pancake Day,” said IHOP President Darren Rebelez, in a release. “Each year, we are so grateful to work with the Miss America Organization and Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. To be able to continue improving the lives of children is what makes National Pancake Day such a success year after year.”
Reach Nathan Pilling at 937-502-4498 or on Twitter @XDGNatePilling.