MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Morgan Elvis is on cloud nine after being crowned Miss Myrtle Beach, something that is much more than just a crown.
"Now that I've come home to Myrtle Beach and I'm going to be representing this place that I love so much, who has actually supported me through this, was actually spectacular," Elvis said. "I did get teary, but Miss South Carolina, Rachel Wyatt, was there and I did not want to cry."
She is still gushing over the moment while also coming face-to-face with a birthday that is bittersweet.
"I've never really, in the past few years, made a big deal out of my birthday," she said. "And this year especially, to be the same age as someone who is supposed to be older than you is really hard, but it just makes my platform and my passion for what I'm doing right now that much stronger."
That someone is Elvis' older sister, Heather Elvis, who has been missing since December of 2013. While she admits it was too tough to speak out before, she's now found herself in a new place with a louder voice.
"Human trafficking is a real problem, kidnapping is a real problem," Elvis said. "There are so many murders and so many victims of crime in this area and nobody focuses on that. It's broadcast on the news and swept away the next day and I think it should be a bigger thing because people don't realize it can happen to you. And that's why it gets swept under the rug I think, because people are like, 'It's not going to happen to me, my neighbor or my sister.' So it's not going to happen to me but it could be."
Her platform, is called HELPP, or Hope, Encouragement, Love, Purpose and Perseverance. Elvis said it is a commitment to victims' rights and advocacy.
Elvis said it took Heather's disappearance for her to learn of other missing people from the area.
It's something she feels isn't right and as much as the Elvis family wants to find Heather and bring her home, for Morgan Elvis, it's also time to push forward.
"My family, it's about finding Heather, and for the overall purpose it's about finding Heather. But at this moment, for me, it's about finding everyone else and saving those who are left behind," Elvis said. "Because that's where I am at in my life. I can't bring Heather home. That's not my job. It's the police's job, it's the judge's job, it's the searching. But for me, I can't sit idly by. For me, the goal is to do what I can for anyone else out there who is living where I am living."
Even though she still longs for answers, Elvis hopes that by sharing her story on the road to Miss South Carolina, she can help others go from hurting to healing.