Early Childhood Education major and Converse Lacrosse player Haleigh McSwain ’23 honored Spartanburg County Deputy Austin Aldridge with a song during the 2022 Miss South Carolina competition.
McSwain, the first Miss Converse University, has a personal passion for the mental health of police and first responders. She had planned to honor police and first responders months prior to the competition, and it became even more relevant when Deputy Aldridge was killed in the line of duty the day before McSwain’s preliminary performance.
McSwain took the opportunity to reach thousands at the competition in Columbia, SC, honoring the fallen officer while supporting his grieving family and fellow officers.
Her program, Crowns4Badges/I got your six, was the motivation for her vocal performance to Hallelujah – A Police Tribute. She also wrote to public servants, asking them to send patches for her dress. McSwain held up the Spartanburg County patch from her dress at the end of her competition performance as a tribute.
Converse alumna Karen Waters Thomas ’84 (2020 Converse Distinguished Alumna Award Recipient) designed and crafted the dress based on McSwain’s concept.