MS MINNESOTA SENIOR AMERICA 2013,
Representing the ‘Land of 10,000 Lakes’, Sherry Westland is at home in the great state of Minnesota. Believing that service starts at home, Faith and Family are high priorities. Married to her best friend Stan, and proud mom to three sons, Sherry is now enjoying her new role as ‘Grammy’ to two beautiful granddaughters.
Sherry’s love of people and travel propelled her, early in her career, to become a flight attendant, allowing her to travel the world, visiting more than 21 countries and islands. Having studied Business Administration at Pacific Union College, she discovered strengths that blessed her with a rewarding 16 year career as executive assistant to the CEO and Chairman of the Board of Ridgecrest Regional Hospital. She soon won over the hearts of physicians, staff members, & patients, receiving the hospital’s Meritorious Award. She also received the Chairman’s Award for Service Excellence twice, from different Chairmen - a rare feat! Now, Sherry finds her golden years more golden, working alongside her husband as office manager of his CPA firm, and conservator of her disabled sister’s estate.
The year 2011 was a turning point for Sherry. That May, she lost her eldest son, Ryan to suicide. Through her greatest tragedy, Sherry found renewed purpose in life. As a woman of hope and perseverance, she is now an advocate for suicide prevention. Her personal goal is that her story be an inspiration to all.
Wanting to present a difficult subject in a positive light, Sherry launched her Love L.I.F.E. Campaign and speaking tour. A campaign that speaks to everyone! L (Love life by overcoming), I (Increase mental health & suicide awareness), F (Family grief support), E (Embrace hope for a new beginning). Sherry regularly educates about mental health awareness and shares inspirational stories as a featured columnist for the Albert Lea Tribune and guest on local radio stations where she encourages others to love their life and overcome adversity. Hoping to bring her Love L.I.F.E. Campaign nationwide, Sherry is thrilled for the opportunity to promote her platform through the Ms. Senior America Pageant.
Bringing hope & healing to the hurting, Sherry actively advocates for suicide awareness, regularly volunteering and fundraising with SAVE.Org and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). Being certified in QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer), Sherry is able to reach the clinically depressed or suicidal to get the help they need through proper referral and treatment programs. It is with great honor that, Sherry, & her son Ryan’s suicide story will be featured in the book, ‘Beauty For Ashes’ that premieres in November 2013.
Because of her love for others and constantly striving to make a difference, Sherry became a Christian mentor and is a certified fitness instructor where she sees first-hand, the positive impact she can make on others’ lives. Volunteering is a big part of her life, having raised $1,500 for Children’s Cancer Research, as lead Facilitator of her Dare-to-Care Group (a community outreach program); as an online mentor for Truth Media (mentoring women world-wide), serving meals and stocking the food pantry at the Salvation Army, walking with Relay for Life annually, packing food for Feed the Hungry Children, Zumba dancing for Susan G. Komen fundraisers and standing a flag line to honor our returning and fallen troops with the MN Patriot Guard.
An excellent speaker and leader, Sherry’s most notable accomplishments are earning the Toastmasters International Area Governor of the Year Award (Area & District Levels), Toastmaster of the Year (Club, Area & Division Levels), and attaining the highest personal award of Distinguished Toastmaster. As club president, she even led her club to receive the highest attainable honor, The President’s Distinguished Award.
Faith is the cornerstone of everything Sherry does, reflected in her service in every facet of Church leadership from women’s, youth, to children’s ministries for 40 years. Something that may surprise you, is that as Director of Ladies of Harley, she coordinated monthly events to fundraise for local charities, which is an integral part of the Harley Owners Group.
Sherry truly does love life as is reflected in her diversified interests; from world travel, fitness, dancing, reading, being an avid Vikings Football fan, golfing, scuba diving (even after a near death experience), doll collecting, pickle ball and chess--to exploring the beautiful United States of America with her husband on their Harley. Sherry lives her motto: "Love God, Love LIFE, Love Others"
www.sherrywestland.com and www.facebook.com/LoveLifeCampaign