Sunday, November 7, 2010

Give To the Max

While at Miss Minnesota in June, I remember hearing about a tornado that had devastated the city of Wadena, MN. Being that I pass through Wadena every time I travel home to Detroit Lakes, I am quite familiar with the city’s landscape and can certainly attest to the fact that this tornado caused irreversible changes to the aesthetics of the town. But, the amazing thing is that this same irreversible change did not happen to the hearts of the Wadena citizens; in fact, I think it caused their hearts to grow larger. In these times of strife, the town has come together with remarkable strength to volunteer time to clean up debris while bringing the community back to some sense of normalcy. So, I was honored to do my part by hosting a Night of Inspiration Concert right there in Wadena this past Saturday to celebrate all of the good that is happening there. The concert took place at the Memorial Auditorium, which has the most stunning 9 foot Steinway grand piano…as you can probably imagine, this was a dream for me to play on and certainly for the other gifted piano players who shared their talent that evening! A 12 year old boy named Joey played Beethoven’s 3rd movement of the Moonlight Sonata. To give you an idea of how gifted this young man is, this was a piece I played when I was 16! Another Inspiring American named Irma Allen (who is over 90 years old!!) has taught piano for 70 YEARS inspiring students to love music. Irma performed at the concert and the piece she selected was the same one she played 71 years ago on the very same stage for her senior piano recital…all I can say is, WOW! It was such an enjoyable night, but also a night to remember that, in the words of Mayor Wayne Wolden, “in times of great despair there are many reasons to be thankful and to have hope.” What an honor it was to recognize Mayor Wolden as an Inspiring American for all the work he did to bring back the city after the tornado. Despite all of the turmoil the residents of this town have faced, I felt honored that over $800 was given to benefit the Children’s Miracle Network that night. The people of Wadena are truly a shining example of how life’s adversity has the power to create strength, connectedness, and an immense desire to serve and bless others in need. True to course, I left another concert being inspired and blessed beyond measure!

In addition to the concert, the last couple of weeks have also been filled with school visits, talent performances, fundraisers, and other cool events. Have I mentioned before how much I LOVE being Miss Minnesota!!

My school visit took me to Hudson High School (this is an appearance I have done every year I have served as a titleholder) where my sister, Kari, is a choir teacher. It is the students there who inspire me to come back year after year because of their heart and commitment to music. It is also such a thrill to see my sister, who served as Miss Minnesota 2001, live out her platform of music education every day as their director. It just goes to show how remarkable and life impacting the Miss America Organization is! The personal platform component of the Miss America Organization has defined the long-term career and service path that so many young women have taken in life over the past 20 years. And now, you add the incredible commitment that women around our nation are showing to the national partnership of the Children’s Miracle Network--as much as we’re helping to change lives through the money we diligently work to raise for CMN, our lives are being transformed as we develop a deeper and stronger commitment to service.

It has been an absolute joy for me to work tirelessly to raise money for CMN through every Inspiring America event, and I had another great experience in Perham putting on a fundraiser dinner/performance at their golf club. Over the course of four hours, I performed, presented and socialized with over 180 guests. Can you believe I sold 50“Blessed Beyond Measure” CD’s that night? By the end of the night, we had raised more than $500 for CMN! Thank you, thank you, thank you to all of the generous people across Minnesota who have given to this worthy cause!! I continue to be humbled by the generosity of the people of Minnesota!

Speaking of being humbled, every time I do an event for Gillette Children’s Hospital I walk away changed. The most recent event I participated in was a fundraiser called “Shop and Sip” at CSM in Minneapolis. My duties were simple, meet and greet people and draw raffle winners, but these fun appearances are so awesome because they showcase the great support people have for Gillette. (And, it certainly doesn’t hurt when their donated money for CMN goes towards raffle tickets for great drawings and prizes!)

During my first four and a half months of service, I have traveled from one end of the state to the other and one side to the other. With one-third of my reign over, I have learned from every appearance and every person I have met that life is too short to not give…to give of ourselves in whatever way God has blessed us with, be it our talents, our time, or our money. I recently had the great opportunity to be a part of a promotional video for “Give to the Max Day,” which will occur on November 16th (the video will be forthcoming). This day presents the perfect opportunity for each one of us to take part in the Nation’s largest giving day blessing hundreds of charities. I encourage you to go to on November 16th and donate to your favorite charity. Even by donating a simple $10 you can be a part of this great day that has already raised over $19,000,000 for charities! And, if you can’t give monetarily, create your own version of “Give to the Max Day” by volunteering your time to one of the many organizations in need. With the holiday season fast approaching, this is our opportunity to look for even more opportunities to inspire and bless those around us. You just never know how monumental of an impact your small sacrifice can have.

Be blessed!
Kathryn Knuttila
Miss Minnesota 2010

1 comment:

  1. These Inspiring America concerts inspire me. Having gone through a devastating tornado ourselves in 2001 which destroyed our Brainerd equine business- including losing many of our beloved horses and heavily damaging our home- I can related to the struggles of the Wadena citizens. We must rise to the challenges of change and carry on.
    Thank you Miss MN for recognizing and honoring those who have.