Miss Kentucky Heather Renee French was crowned Miss America 2000 on Saturday night, becoming the first woman from that state ever to wear the crown. The 24-year-old (who hails from Maysville, Ky., and is now a fashion design student at the University of Cincinnati) covered her face with her hands when pageant co-host Marie Osmond announced her as the winner. French plans to campaign for increased government assistance for down-and-out veterans during her reign. “We have over 250,000 homeless veterans, spread nationwide,” she said Sunday. Miss America’s father, Ron French, 52, served in the U.S. Marine Corps in Vietnam and was wounded in combat. He said he believes his daughter will make a difference as a high-profile spokeswoman for veterans.