Tia Davailus is representing the state of Pennsylvania at the National Miss United States pageant that is being held this week, July 2-7, in Washington, D.C.

Tia Davailus, a 2006 North Pocono graduate, has been competing in the Miss United States organization for nearly 11 years. But after being involved in a terrible car accident in April 2012, which resulted in two major reconstructive surgeries and an entire year of rehabilitation, her dream of being crowned Miss Pennsylvania (and Miss United States) was shattered and began to slowly fade away. Luckily, all of that changed due to her willingness to dig deep and fight to keep her dream alive.

Tia was always known as someone who was willing to put in the work needed to reach her goals, whatever they may be. So, following the two surgeries she underwent last year as a result of the accident, she was determined to return to competing in pageants once again.

Typically, the state preliminary for the Miss United States pageant is held in November, so naturally Tia was unable to compete as she was still rehabbing the injuries she suffered from the car accident.

However, after learning that the Miss United States organization was holding their Pennsylvania preliminary in April 2013, she said, "I entered into the pageant and set a goal for myself both mentally and physically."

On April 6, Tia reached that goal and was crowned Miss Pennsylvania in the Miss United States pageant that was held in Atlantic City, NJ.

As a result, she is now representing the state of Pennsylvania at the National Miss United States pageant that is being held this week, July 2-7, in Washington, D.C.

"As Miss Pennsylvania United States 2013," Tia mentioned, "I am honored to have the opportunity to represent Pennsylvania not only to compete for the title of Miss United States, but to dedicate and engage myself in charitable fundraising and public awareness events. It is an absolute honor to hold the opportunity to make a positive impact on our society!"

Over the course of her 11-year career competing in pageants, Tia has remained humble and has always taken great pride in staying true to herself, without comprising her morals, ethics, values and beliefs.

"I've always prided myself on being my own person," she explained.

"Throughout all of my years competing, I have never trained to be like the winner from the previous year," she added. "I want only to present the very best version of myself and what I stand for."

She went on to say that the "crown" was never her goal either.

"The crown to me is a means to further opportunities," she said. " I've heard competitors say when training they run miles with the vision of the crown at the finish line."

She continued, "When I train I see the crown as a check point, and once I hit that I start sprinting into a completely new level of opportunity."

Tia is also involved in the following organizations: American Cancer Society, Relay for Life, American Trauma Society, March of Dimes, Suicide Prevention and Awareness, Substance Abuse Resistance, and Best Buddies.

In addition to various social causes she is involved with, Tia is currently working to establish her own advocacy campaign - a seat belt utilization campaign called "Across My Heart."

"The message I hope to send is simply wear your seat belt," she explained. "It is a simple, controllable concept that is the difference between life and death.

"It is not every day we have control over accidents or any realm of tragedy," she offered. "Our seat belts are at our finger tips. I am hear today because I was wearing my seat belt."

Tia, a 2010 graduate of Saint Joseph's University, is the daughter of Edward and Terri Davailus of Covington Twp. Her siblings are Edward and Abby, and her grandparents are Fred and Babe Treitz and the late Edward and Pauline Davailus.