See the lady whose hand I’m shaking? Her name is Sally Olson.
Each year during Miss Wisconsin week in Oshkosh, the contestants have lunch with Shriners and veterans from the Wisconsin Veterans Home at King. During Miss Wisconsin week in 2016, I met this incredibly compassionate, selfless, patriotic woman who served our country. While it’s relatively easy to get wrapped up in the present day and temporarily forget those generations who have paved the way before us, it’s vital that we take time to reflect and appreciate their hard work and dedication to our communities and country.Sally and I enjoyed lunch with one another, spoke about our love for the Green Bay Packers, exchanged facts about our families, and enjoyed countless laughs with one another. After knowing me for probably an hour, she grabbed my hands looking into my eyes with utmost sincerity and said, “You’re going to be Miss Wisconsin, I can feel it and I’ll pray for you the rest of the week.” Needless to say my heart was consumed with emotions. How can someone who knows you for such a brief period of time make such a profound impact on you? By conveying compassion that’s how. And as a local titleholder that’s what I strive to project on a regular basis at appearances, in my personal life when the crown is off, and at work as a reporter when I’m engaging with people in the community.
We kept in touch, sending letters back and forth a couple of times and I mailed her pictures of us from that afternoon. After not receiving a response, I was worried something had happened. When I arrived at the home for Miss America Serves Day in late April of this year, I hesitantly asked an employee if he knew where Sally Olson was and much to my surprise and delight he confirmed that he did. He guided me to another building and when I walked in I saw her sitting off to left in her walker, watching some of the other Wisconsin titleholders dance and sing. I slowly walked over and touched her shoulder, when she turned to see who it was she gasped and instantly began crying. She exclaimed, “I’m so happy you’re here! Oh my goodness, they said the same girls weren’t here. I’m so happy to see you!” I sat down by her and she wrapped her arm around me and said, “This is your year, I can feel it!”Her warmth completely overwhelmed me and her kind words are still ingrained in my mind. It’s people like Sally, that MAO women like myself have the pleasure of meeting within the community that truly help to establish memories and encourage personal growth. Thanks for being you Sally and responding to my compassion with so much love and integrity.
#likeaMAOwoman #MarComScholarship #MissWisconsin
READ MORE: Wisconsin Veterans Home at King