Mountain Terrace Senior Living in Wausau recently hosted a “Silver Pageant” to honor the women in their community over the age of 75. The pageant was the brain child of Theresa Haase, a former art teacher that made the transition to the assisted living world over two years ago. The event was a resounding success with over 700 people in attendance with special appearances by Miss Wisconsin and Miss America.
Shortly after joining Mountain Terrace, Theresa heard a neighbor talking about a 55+ senior citizen pageant and that is when a lightbulb went off in her head and the ball started rolling. Theresa was compelled to create this pageant because, while she is able to hear these women’s stories daily over coffee at the assisted living facility, most people in the public will not have the same opportunity. Many people have no idea what life was like in “their day” and this pageant will help the public learn from these women through their experiences.
Theresa was inspired and drawn to the strength and perseverance that the women in the facility had exhibited throughout their lives. There are women who spent their days on the family farm. One woman lost her husband at an early age, but strapped on her boots and headed to the farm to work while raising her children. Another woman was born in Ukraine and spent five years in a work camp before being sponsored to come to the United States. As she began her journey to the United States headed for Ellis Island, a priest blessed a small satchel that held a small piece of bread and a candle. To this day, she clutches that satchel containing the bread, which has since petrified, and an unused candle to bring her comfort when she feels nervous of afraid.
This event has been fantastic for the participants, one of the contestants said that the event has given her the opportunity to reflect on her life and has enjoyed the process so much that she is brought to happy tears when she thinks about the upcoming pageant. This event will give these women a platform and will ensure that their stories live on for future generations. In the words of an anonymous author, “Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.”
Miss Wisconsin spent the entire day with the ladies participating in the pageant and Miss America came for a special presentation and took pictures with all pageant participants. There were over 700 people in attendance to witness this awe-inspiring event.
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