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Attend The 14th Annual Women of Worth Expo

By Staff | Oct 30, 2018

Jessica Eckmann before her makeover

The 14th Annual Women of Worth Expo is set to come to the Blue Earth Area High School on Saturday, Nov. 3, from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., and though there will be a multitude of fun vendors and shopping options for the holidays, there’s more to the Women of Worth Expo than just fabulous shopping.

For those who are curious about the Southern Minnesota Women of Worth, it is a non-profit group that helps for the good and betterment of families of rural southern Minnesota through continued education about abuse, neglect, and domestic violence that takes place in the rural areas, along with financial support of programs designed to help all victims of abuse.

So far in 2018, the Women of Worth have helped over 20 women in Southern Minnesota affected by domestic violence with over $3,000 in donated funds.

While their annual expo is a day of fun and frolic for many visitors, the funds raised at the Expo and the meaning behind the raising of those funds reach much farther.

The Expo hosts a speaker every year, and this year, that speaker is Karen Schwaller.

Amanda Schaefer before her makeover

Schwaller is a freelance writer, author, speaker, farm wife and mother and owner of “Schwaller Agri-Stories” from Milford. She has a degree in journalism and has written for newspapers in Northwest and Central Iowa on a full time and freelance basis for the last 35 years.

Her columns appear in several Midwest newspapers and magazines and are even broadcast on the radio. She has written two books “The Dirt,” and “I Married a City Boy,” both are collections of some of her favorite farm humor and inspirational columns she’s written over the years. She also has a children’s book called, “What Should I Be?” which is a tribute to all that mothers do.

Besides being host to an inspirational speaker, the Women of Worth Expo has hosted an annual makeover. A day of pampering and spa-like treatments are awarded to two women who truly deserve a day to themselves. This year’s makeover winners are Jessica Eckmann and Amanda Schaefer.

These two Blue Earth women were nominated because of their devotion to their families.

“Family is everything and knowing what Jessica and Amanda have gone through the last few months is just one of the reasons I am recommending them for a day of pampering,” said the nomination letter that was received by the Women of Worth board.

“Jessica’s mom, Darla, had been fighting cancer for the last few years. Just when we thought she had beaten it, the cancer returned in full-force,” it reads. “Through all of this, Jessica was a pillar of strength for her mom. Not only was she trying to raise her own family of three children taking them to various school and sporting events and working full-time herself she was at as many of her mom’s appointments as she could be. She worked tirelessly to make sure that her children had as much time as possible with their grandmother, knowing the end was near.”

Amanda, who is Jessica’s sister-in-law by marriage, was also doing her best for her husband Brandon, Jessica’s brother, in their time of need.

“And then the unimaginable happened,” reads the letter. “While at the hospital with the Schaefer family, Amanda received a call that her own mother had suffered a major heart attack and did not survive.”

Two women who have become sisters over time, suffered the same devastating loss at the same time.

“This family, now had the shock of trying to coordinate time between the two families at the loss of another mother,” the letter continues. “Just five days after losing Amanda’s mother, the Schaefer family said their final earthly goodbyes to their mother, as well.

“Knowing that the last few months have been just trying to figure out this world without their mothers, and beginning to survive a ‘new normal,’ I can’t help but think that a day of pampering is just what they need. We are so thankful for all they have done for cancer research with their Purple Ninjas Relay for Life team,” says the letter.

It seems these two local women’s unbridled devotion to not only their families, and their mothers, but the continuance of cancer research, has not gone unnoticed.

Join the Women of Worth team as they present Jessica and Amanda’s makeovers and engage in a deeper conversation of finding worth in every woman through the words of Karen Schwaller.

The Women of Worth believe that domestic and sexual violence has no place in their community and will continue their efforts to make Faribault County a safe place for everyone.