SECTION, Ala. (WHNT) – The road to becoming Miss Alabama was a long one for a Jackson County girl. 37 years later, it’s taken her down a path she never imagined.

I caught up with Tammy Little Haynes recently at her Sand Mountain home in Section. We talked about the 1979 summer day that changed her life. “I’m at the old Woolworth’s in Scottsboro checking out and this lady comes up and says, you need to be in Miss Goose Pond Colony. And I’m like, Miss what? And she’s like, Miss Goose Pond. And I said well, okay, I’ll do it,” she told me with a laugh.

She won and headed to the Miss Alabama pageant. She didn’t win that year but in her fifth pageant as Miss Hoover, Tammy was crowned Miss Alabama in 1984. “It was a good adventure, lots of friends and great memories,” she recalled.

She became a hometown hero. Street and highway signs say it all. That is until someone stole them. “Well, you know my very first ones that were put up. I think the first one was found in a trailer on the Auburn campus,” she said with a smile, “Some guy had stolen it and put it in their trailer. I was a little flattered with that one so it’s okay.” The others were lost to roadwork. But she never lost her drive.

More than three decades later, a friend suggested she enter the Ms. Senior Alabama Pageant. She won. “First Miss Alabama to ever be MS Senior Alabama,” she said proudly. But that wasn’t her final crowning achievement.

Since the last time we talked, she went to the Ms. Senior World in Biloxi, Mississippi where she was crowned “Ms. Senior World 60s” for her age group. Being in another pageant after 37 years wasn’t on her radar. “I’ve been a wife, and raising children,” she said.

But Tammy says this one is different. She says the Ms. Senior World Program helps women in their 50s, 60’s and 70’s to rediscover themselves. “It’s kind of like a coming back out party for Tammy of where I’m going and doing things really that I enjoy doing which is serving others,” she told me.

It also gives her an even bigger platform to fight for those battling Lou Gehrig’s disease. “The story about my brother-in-law being diagnosed with ALS, my father passing away from ALS, I thought what a great way to have a large stage in which to raise awareness,” she said, “And hopes of finding a cure. We’ve got to find a cure for ALS. I’m tired of people being diagnosed and it being a death sentence for them.”

Tammy will represent women of all ages. And she wants to inspire them as well. “I’m hoping to speak at a lot of different churches and organizational events as an inspirational speaker and sharing my testimony, singing, and empowering not only women but everyone,” she told me.

With three crowns now, Section is going to need some bigger road signs welcoming everyone to town. “I’m with you Jerry,” she said smiling, “I think this is what I need to have. What can you do about that?” I told her we’d contact Montgomery and see what we can do. “Okay, I appreciate that,” she said with a laugh.

If you’d like to talk to Tammy about speaking to your group, you can contact her at MsSeniorWorld60@gmail.com. You can also call her at (256) 599-7689.