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Five Hills queen starts Yellow Ribbon Program in honor of father

Special to Leader-Press 


Fort Hood has a military strength of nearly 36,000 soldiers and airmen and nearly 53,000 family members, providing a large consumer base for local businesses and organizations. Little Miss Five Hills Mikayla Heileson, 5, sees that as an opportunity to honor her father. The kindergartener is the daughter of Specialist Austin Callison of the 91st Engineer Battalion who has served six years in the U. S. Army.

Heileson selected her platform of service through her pageant title as the Copperas Cove Yellow Ribbon Community Program. Her mission is to let service members and their families know that they are welcome and appreciated in Copperas Cove. 

“With Mikayla being a military child, she supports everything about her daddy’s job and his sacrifice. She is always proud to say that her daddy is a soldier,” said Sarah Callison, Heileson’s mother. “Choosing this project will help spread the word about local businesses that are also proud of our soldiers and support them in their own way.”

Miss Five Hills Scholarship Program Director Wendy Sledd presented the Yellow Ribbon Community idea to Callison who agreed to take Heileson to visit with local businesses to provide door clings and window posters purchased with money raised by the Miss Five Hills Scholarship Program. She then approached the chamber of commerce that was receptive to supporting the project through its military affairs branch.

“When Wendy reached out to me about getting Mikayla involved in the Yellow Ribbon Community Project, I was all for it,” Callison said. “She did not have a platform of service as the other royalty did, but she is always happy to help support them.”  

Sledd developed the guidelines for the Yellow Ribbon Community Program based on existing programs in other communities across the nation. With the professional assistance of Centex Photos, Sledd developed the logo along with the door clings and window posters and had them printed for use in local businesses that offer services or discounts to customers who present an active-duty or retired military identification card including family members. 

Heileson and her mother placed posters and window clings in a handful of businesses on a list provided by the chamber and then set out to visit many more businesses in Cove to drum up support for our nation’s service members. 

“Every time she has an event to go to for the pageant, she gets super excited and is really excited about her project to turn Copperas Cove into a Yellow Ribbon Community in honor of her father,” Callison said.

Heileson crowns her successor at the 7th Annual Miss Five Hills Scholarship Pageant on March 21 at the Copperas Cove Civic Center.  

For more information on showing your business’ support for the nation’s military through the Yellow Ribbon Community Program, visit

Copperas Cove Leader Press

2210 U.S. 190
Copperas Cove, TX 76522
Phone:(254) 547-4207