After about a month of fundraisers, $33,400 was raised for Beatrice's Blue Valley Behavioral Health facility and Homestead Days has found its Miss Homesteader.
KWBE announced Friday morning that Ashley Schnuelle-Hawks, who raised $13,500 for the facility, was named Miss Homesteader.
Schnuelle-Hawks and the other candidates - Josh Barnard, Bryan Cook and Brandy Scheer - will ride in convertibles during the Homestead Days parade Saturday. Schnuelle-Hawks will also receive a black cowboy hat and their own traveling trophy they get to keep for the year.
Amber Ferguson, chairperson for the Blue Valley Behavioral Health Foundation of Gage County, said all the money raised will support Blue Valley’s Beatrice office.
“I would like to thank the candidates most of all for all of their hard work and dedication to helping the BVBH Foundation continue to provide services needed to this community,” Ferguson said. “And also a huge thank you to the community for continuing to support the candidates and BVBH Foundation each year. We are in the 31st year of the contest and will continue on in the future, as the need for mental health and substance use services continues to grow.”
Schnuelle-Hawks said her fundraisers included receiving partial profits from Valentino’s and 4 One 8, a freewill donation taco bar at Diller Opera house, a school’s out summer bash at the YMCA, a T & S Metalworks fundraiser at Stone Hollow Brewing Company, a Fun Run at Biggs and Party with a Purpose at Classic’s, which all the candidates fundraised at.
Schnuelle-Hawks said the entire experience has been fun.
“It was just great to see so many people in the community step up and help out,” Schnuelle-Hawks said. “It was pretty amazing. I was very thankful for everyone who came to me with donations.”
She said she started brainstorming fundraiser ideas about a month before the competition.
“I knew if I was going to do it I wanted to try to work really, really hard to raise money for Blue Valley,” Schnuelle-Hawks said. “I have an intense passion for mental health…The stigmas out there are just keeping so many people from coming forward and getting the help that they need. I just hope and pray that by doing these things - and not only raising the money, but just spreading awareness while you’re doing it - will help.”
Schnuelle-Hawks isn’t the only Homesteader in the family, either. Her brother, Anthony Schnuelle, was named Mr. Homesteader in 2016.
Schnuelle-Hawks thanked her parents, brother, sister-in-law and nieces for their help and support with the contest.
“And my three kids, Andrew, Katelyn and Gracie, for helping me and putting up with the craziness the past five weeks,” Schnuelle-Hawks said.
Schnuelle-Hawks said she believes anyone could compete to be Mr. or Miss Homesteader.
“You’ll have people step up that you never thought were behind you and willing to help with anything,” she said. “Companies and businesses and restaurants, stuff around town, seem to be really willing to step up and help with these kind of things, as well. I’d be happy to help anyone in the future.”