by Logan Gruber
Sarah Schmidt of Sauk Rapids was recently named Mrs. Benton County International 2016. This title qualifies her to compete for Mrs. Minnesota International on Saturday, March 12 in St. Cloud.
Schmidt is employed by Foley Funeral Home and has been for the past 13 years serving as funeral director, licensed insurance agent and grief-support coordinator. She is active on the board of directors for the Sauk Rapids Community Ambassador Organization, assists on the Children’s Ministry Team at Bridge Community Church in Sauk Rapids and facilitates a grief support group in Foley.
The Mrs. International Pageant System recognizes women for their commitment to family, profession and community stewardship. Each participant chooses a platform which she is passionate about.
“Whether I get to move on in the competition or not,” Schimdt said in an exclusive Sauk Rapids-Rice Newsleader interview, “I measure success by being able to help others with their grief.”
Schmidt applied to be Mrs. Benton County International in order to bring attention to a cause that is close to her heart – senior grief support.
“In one grief group I held, a woman in her 90s was able to cry for the first time over a stillborn baby she had in her 20s. She and her husband took the baby, buried it, and that was all . . . now, there is more education, and it’s OK to express your feelings or go to a psychologist or counselor,” Schmidt said.
She would like to use her platform to help facilitate more grief groups and train others at senior communities how to hold their own grief groups.
“It’s so rewarding to see people work through their grief and then want to turn around and help someone else do the same,” Schmidt said.
The Schmidts have lived in Sauk Rapids for about six years, but both have family ties to Sauk Rapids and Rice.
Schmidt’s maiden name is Weitgenant, and her mother worked at the Sartell paper mill but grew up in Monticello. Schmidt’s husband, Joel, works for the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office where he has been a deputy for about two years and was a dispatcher for about four years previously. Joel is also a volunteer with the Sauk Rapids Fire Department. They have two sons: Braxton, 7, and Hudson, 5.
Schmidt’s first event will be a “Shop for YOUR Cause” fundraiser held at 7 p.m. tonight, Sept. 11 at the Blue Line Sports Bar and Grill in Sartell.
Anyone interested in earning money for a particular cause is welcome to participate. Anyone can pledge money to a particular cause, and whichever cause raises the most money between 7-9:11 p.m. will receive all of the money donated tonight.
Mrs. Minnesota International
Schmidt will compete for the title of Mrs. Minnesota International 2016, a grand-prize package and the chance to represent Minnesota at the Mrs. International Pageant. She is sponsored by Foley Funeral Home.
After high school, Schmidt was crowned Miss Monticello and went on to compete at the Minneapolis Aquatennial. Through that experience, Schmidt says she gained self-confidence and life skills that have proven to be priceless. In a blog post, Schmidt said she can remember meeting Mrs. Minnesota International during her reign as Miss Monticello and tucking away the idea that someday she would like to be Mrs. Minnesota International. She went on to say there is a long list of reasons she could have talked herself out of entering the pageant, but she feels like it’s a great experience to model that you’re never too old to follow a dream.
Mrs. Minnesota International 2014 was Kimberly Stommes of Sartell, so there is precedent for someone from the area to win at the state level.
The International pageants are a bit different than the Ms. America pageants readers might see on TV. Mrs. International contestants are judged mostly on their interview and chosen platform, such as senior grief, although there is also a fitness and evening gown element to the competition.
Schmidt was able to choose whether to represent a city or county when applying to compete for the Mrs. Minnesota International title, and she decided to represent all of Benton County due to living in Sauk Rapids, having ties in both Sauk Rapids and Rice, and working and volunteering in Foley.
If you are interested in finding out more about the International pageant system, Schmidt’s fundraiser or platform, or would like her assistance with a civic or non-profit organization, visit her website at goldentears.weebly.com, or visit the pageant website at mrsminnesota.com.