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Hobson’ Hill seeks Sweetheart crown

There may be crowns waiting for her in heaven, but there’s one here on Earth that Marie Hill would like to get first.

Hill, 88, is one of three women nominated to compete in the Miss Sweetheart competition for Leroy Butler’s Gospel Hour.

“This is so amazing,” Hill said Thursday. “I feel so good. It’s such a blessing that I have such good friends who are willing to help me become Miss Sweatheart.”

Other nominees are Eldora Brooks of Hertford, N.C., and Shannon Brown of Newport News. The nominee who raises the most donations, which will go to the gospel hour, will be crowned Miss Sweetheart 2010 at the Sweetheart Banquet on Feb. 14.

“I’ve always been active in the community, PTA and school system,” Hill said. “I’ve even gone and talked to the City Council. Ever since I was a little girl, I was taught to give a helping hand.”

While Hill does her fair share of helping, she will need help of her own to raise the money to benefit the station, which she feels is a worthy cause of her time.

“Our station helps people who are at home and can’t get out to church,” said Janice Butler, her husband’s co-host for the program. “This is many people’s church service.”

This year is the 21st year the program, which airs Saturdays from 7 to 9 p.m. on radio station 940 WKGM-AM, will host the banquet. The past eight or nine years have included a Miss Sweetheart contest.

The show broadcasts to hundreds of people ranging from Rocky Mount, N.C., to Richmond and the Eastern Shore.

“We’re hoping the pageant this year does well, so we can continue to bless these people,” Butler said

While Hill’s primary goal is to support the station, winning the crown “would be another crown God has added to her many,” said Mary Hill, her daughter.