Kerr House selects essay contest winnersWritten by Toledo Free Press Staff Writers | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Nearly 75 people entered the Toledo Free Press/Kerr House “Mom deserves a getaway contest,” and the entries literally moved the judges to tears. Among the winners are a mom who lost a daughter to cancer, a laid-off woman nominated by her former employer and two creative entries, one written in a stream-of-consciousness list of stressful activity and one written in Victorian language that fits the Kerr House style.
Judging was handled by Kerr House owner Laurie Hostetler, Milissa Clark of Reality Marketing and Design and Toledo Free Press Editor in Chief Michael S. Miller.
“For such a short time window, the quantity and quality of the entries was remarkable,” Miller said. “It is a testament to the reputation of Kerr House that so many readers took to their pens and keyboards.”
The first-prize winner is Diane Medlin. Her husband Ray submitted an essay that won her a three-day Destination Spa package valued at more than $1,575. The package includes breakfast served in bed, a yoga class, body treatments, lunch, time to rest, dinner and entertainment.
Medlin wrote that his wife has dealt with the loss of a brother, father and daughter.
“The loss of a child is devastating and puts everything in a different perspective. Things that meant everything before means nothing now. We held her hand to the end, just like we held my father’s hand and Diane’s father’s hand, who passed away two months ago,” Medlin wrote.
Diane had both of her knees operated on and had to have her dog of 15 years put down.
“In closing, Diane has cut hair, cleaned bed pans, provided transportation for chemo treatments, doctors appointments and everything else under the sun that a person can imagine. I can’t tell how many sleepless nights we have fallen asleep crying together,” Medlin wrote. “I am humbled by her character and compassion and I love her.”
Second prize goes to Amy (last name withheld). She wins a Day Destination Spa valued at more than $350, which includes a mineral bath and full-hour massage, herbal wrap and whirlpool, lunch, a facial and a yoga class.
Amy was nominated by her former employer, Mary Jo Bellner Swartzberg of UT.
Amy was laid-off in early June due to budget cuts.
“Amy is a working mother. She has five children, under the age of 13, which includes a set of six-year-old twins. During the last year Amy and her husband experienced many problems and setbacks,” Swartzberg wrote. “Amy is a hard worker and a selfless person, giving to her children first, and then taking what is left. I would like nothing more than to have Amy be the recipient of the three-day spa package prior to the start of the new school year. She is so deserving and she works so very hard to keep the family tended to.”
The Kerr House also awarded a free massage and pedicure or manicure to Sheila Painter. Painter’s essay covered four months of her busy year, in less than 300 words:
“MAY: End of school craziness. 50 cupcakes by tomorrow morning?! Shopping. Baking. Carpools. “No lollipops!” Stress. Clean lollipops off car upholstery. Volunteering. Plant flowers. Schedules. Errands. Finally get to spring cleaning. Recycle. Plan camps, vacation. Anxiety. Laundry, organizing. Birthday time already? Plan party. Cooking. Baking. Assemble goodie bags. Noise! Cleanup. Shampoo carpets. Get books at library. Yardwork. When is it time for me?
“JUNE: Camp carpools, squeeze in exercise. Try to drink more water. Laundry, cleaning, baking. Worry. Family vacation. “Are we there yet???” Stress. Unpacking. More laundry. Errands. Answer questions. Grocery shopping. Cooking. Pay fines at library. Organizing. Print and scrapbook pix. Work in yard. Volunteer work. Is it time for ME yet??”
Another free massage and pedicure or manicure was awarded to a woman who wrote her letter in Victorian style.
Kerr House also announced it would send a prize to every essay contributor. All 75 entrants will receive a Kerr House CD that teaches calming techniques for health.
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