President Joanna’s challenge to Women of Today members for this year was to think of something that brings us joy and for each of us to either plan an event or service which represents that joy. I chose to show my joy for families. I grew up as an only child because my sister was twenty years older than me and married with children of her own. Our family still spent quality time together, and I had many great memories of picnics and holiday celebrations with my sister and nieces and also with my grandmother. However, it wasn’t until I met my then to be husband Ken, that I really got to know what it was like to come from a “big” family. He was the only boy with five sisters. I was welcomed into the family with open arms. His parents treated me like one of their own. His sisters always made me feel like I was just another “sister” in the family. Even the extended family of aunts, uncles, grandmothers, and cousins accepted me. This is how it has remained even today. I feel blessed to have had these family members in my life.

As the years passed, many fond memories were centered around picnics, potlucks, reunions, and holiday gatherings. This is why I chose families as my Joy in the Journey, as today more than ever, we need to strengthen our family ties in this ever-changing world where some families seem to fall apart. And of course, I love potlucks too!!

Kathy Simmering, FWT Membership VP

The Fairmont Women of Today and their families enjoy a beautiful day at Gomsrud Park. We find joy with our families.

Find JOY in the JOurneY!

It is a start of a new year for Fairmont Women of Today (FWT). That means changes, including new board members and a new theme. The theme for this year is “Find Joy in the Journey.” When life is butterflies and roses it can be easy to find joy, even radiate with it. When it’s a season of struggle it is more difficult to find joy, even impossible. No matter what season you’re in, I encourage you to take a few minutes each day to do something that brings you joy. It can be something as simple as making a list of things you’re thankful for, walking outside, dancing, laughing, watching a sunrise or sunset, volunteering, giving someone a hug or compliment or snuggling. Over the next year, the FWT members will be sharing with each other and you what brings them joy. Follow our Facebook page to find out what exciting things we have planned! Hope you Shimmer, Sparkle and Shine with JOY!

Joanna Borkenhagen, FWT President

My acreage where we kicked off the new theme! One of my many joys is enjoying the outdoors by watching a sunset and seeing the fireflies come out while listening to nature and feeling the breeze in your face. It reminds me of a simpler time. I invited members to my acreage to share in my joy with them. It was an absolutely beautiful night for a bonfire! There was food, fun and friendship! I encourage you to take a few minutes each day to do something that brings you joy.

Touch A Truck 2019

Fairmont Women of Today’s Motto is: Service, Growth and Fellowship; all three attained at this years “Touch A Truck.”

Fairmont Women of Today hosted our 2nd “Touch A Truck” on June 7th, 2019. It was a 90+ degree day on the hot pavement at Fairmont Jr/Sr High School, but area families showed up in force. We saw an increase in visitor attendance for several reasons; first year guests were great at spreading the word of last years event and sponsorship from several businesses and the collaboration with Interlaken Heritage Days also prompted the larger crowd.

Thank you to all our Sponsors for Touch A Truck 2019!

Sponsors this year included: Barrts Trucking, Profinium of Fairmont, State Bank of Fairmont, NuWay Cooperative, Martin County Star Newspaper, Hy-Vee and Fareway of Fairmont, Minuteman Press and the Interlaken Heritage Days Committee.

A highlight this year was Fairmont Police Department’s Officer Tietji and his new K-9 Partner Titus. Titus was great with the kids and he enjoyed chewing some ice cubes on the extra hot day. Ten Fairmont Women of Today members and four FWT family members were instrumental in getting “Touch A Truck” off the ground and many worked during the event. FWT is grateful for all the business owners and community service members that generously gave. Twenty plus vehicles were displayed and those who brought vehicles were enthusiastic and engaging. FWT members and collaborators came together with a shared vision, giving up part of their summer weekend to bring enjoyment to our area families.  

Truck Yeah! Amber DeClercq posing with one of the vehicles at Touch A Truck.

Sharing SMILES

Earlier this year, I wanted to find a way to express my gratitude to a woman at a local business that had the warmest greetings when I would stop in. I don’t know anything about her except her name and where she works. I had an idea to send her a hand stamped card telling her how much I enjoyed coming into that business because she went out of her way to make me feel like an appreciated customer.
I shared this story with my chapter and told them I would like to start a campaign to acknowledge outstanding women in our community that make this a great place to live and work. After some brain storming, an acronym was developed and the S.M.I.L.E. campaign began. Simple Moments Influence Lives Everywhere.
I look for excuses to spend time making cards and this was just the ticket I needed. After a quick personal message was written inside the card, an insert was put in each card explaining our campaign and the back talked about the Women of Today organization.
To date, our chapter has mailed over 50 cards out sharing smiles with deserving woman. There was a quote that we shared on our Facebook page that sums up why I enjoyed this project. “When you see something beautiful in someone, tell them. It may take a second to say, but for them it could last a lifetime.”

If you would like to nominate a deserving woman for this card, send our group an email at:

Sue Bay

Touch-A-Truck 2019

It’s Official! Back for the second year “Touch-A-Truck 2019” Presented by Fairmont Women of Today. Vehicles of any size, age and type are welcome.

Come see and climb inside an ambulance, a fire truck, tractor, mail truck, a hearse (plus many more) and the people who drive them. They all will be gathered at the Fairmont High School Parking lot on June 7th from 5PM to 7PM to Touch-A-Truck!

This is a FREE community event open to all ages, but adult supervision is required for all children. We have a lot of fun vehicles lined up for you to see.

THANK YOU to Martin County Star for their donation of advertising for our upcoming Touch-A-Truck event! We really appreciate your efforts in helping us make our upcoming event successful!


The donation of a freezer to begin a breast milk donation center. A special thanks needs to be shared with Dan’s Appliance for helping by donating the balance of the purchase price above our donated cash.

Fairmont Women of Today is a group with varied interest, a fact that is highlighted by our various projects, activities, and events. But one thing we all agree on is that helping each other helps us all succeed. So when the Minnesota Women of Today announced that the Minnesota Milk Bank for Babies was looking for locations for their breast milk depots, Fairmont Women of Today was quick to agree that this area would be ideal. Much to our surprise when we followed up, there was another group in the area that was pursuing that goal. In the spirit of collaboration, Fairmont Woman of Today and Faribault and Martin Counties Human Services department began working together to get the equipment, location, and press ready. In late 2018, we began working on the project, and in early 2019, the ribbon was cut on the new Minnesota Milk Bank for Babies Fairmont Breast-milk Depot, located at Faribault and Martin Counties Human Services location in Fairmont. The depot allows women who have passed a medical questionnaire, who have surplus breast-milk to donate their supply to the milk bank, who then collects the milk, ensures it is safe to distribute, and repackages it. Hospitals often buy and use the milk for premature babies and other babies who need supplementation. Eventually, the milk will be for sale to families directly. This generous donation can literally be the difference between surviving and thriving for the most vulnerable of our community, and Fairmont Women of Today is humbled to be part of making that happen. We are also extremely grateful for the women who are giving a part of themselves for the benefit of others, and we have created gift bags to give the women when they donate their milk at the depot. This small token of gratitude will hopefully bring smiles to these women, we know we had fun putting them together!

It is projects like this that define Fairmont Women of Today – everyone benefits when we work together to lift others up and help each other help each other.

Fairmont Women of Today assembling Thankful Bags for the women when they donate breast-milk to the milk depot.

From chit-chat to instructional class



I know I’ve said this before, but the beauty of Fairmont Women of Today is that our chapter is defined by our members. What we do is what we as individuals bring to the table.

Our latest adventure in “what we do” started at restaurant table, moved to a dinner table, and ended up at a classroom table.

Our chapter meets twice a month, once at our official board meeting the 4th Monday of the month, and once at varying hour and places in the event we lovingly call “Ladies Who Lunch”.  This gives all our members an opportunity to meet up amidst crazy schedules.  This casual meetup is purely to get to know each other and brainstorm ideas that we may have not time to flush out during an official meeting.

It was at one of these lunches that once AGAIN, Denise and I started raving about our Instant Pots.  I had just gotten one, and she had been an avid user for a while.

“Have you made this, yet?”,
“Oh my gosh, yes! It’s amazing!” could be heard every time we got together!

I don’t remember who said it, but the amount of time we had spent talking about the appliance had prompted a lot of questions from other members and finally a “We should teach a class”!

In the past, I would have laughed this off as a goofy thought and continued with my coffee and chit chat. But here we were amongst friends with the capacity to make it happen. I know Denise and I didn’t have a long time desire to teach Instant Pot classes, but we both love sharing our knowledge and love of cooking and this seemed like a perfect opportunity.

We started out with a trial class where I got out my trusty flip board and marker and we had members bring their instant pots (if they had them) and figured out what people wanted to know! It was a fun and delicious evening!


We decided to contact the community education programs in Truman and Granada to see about using their commercial kitchens and classroom spaces. The next thing we know, we have three sold out classes in a month!  People really wanted to know about this cooker and we had the info!  Unfortunately for me, I couldn’t make it to the public classes due to my work schedule… but here’s the thing… I had a group of ladies who stepped up and supported Denise and I’s idea and helped pull it off.

Over the three classes, many of our members helped serve and organize the classes. Sue and Denise took over the teaching…


… and everyone had a great and tasty evening.

It was so affirming to see a small idea become a benefit to the community!  With the support of chapter members from the idea the execution, we made something happen that was fun, educational, and made an impact on peoples lives; at least at the dinner table.


So glad we were able to help give you confidence!


If you’re interested in finding out what it’s like to have a pack of ladies to back you up with your goofy ideas for a fun time, join us every 4th Monday at 7 PM. We meet at Jake’s Pizza in Fairmont, MN.  If you want to check out “Ladies Who Lunch” watch our Facebook Page for the Event to be posted.

MWT Fall Convention 2018

Traveling outside of Fairmont to experience Service, Fellowship, and Growth

Several times a year the Minnesota Women of Today has a convention to provide an opportunity for all members get together to celebrate each other and provide opportunities for service, fellowship, and growth. Each convention is held in a different place all over the state.
This year President Sue Bay and State Delegate Joanna Borkenhagen traveled to St. Cloud and attended fall convention representing Fairmont. This is what they had to say about their weekend!



This years MWT theme: Lead the Way


State Delegate Joanna and I attended the MN Women of Today Fall Convention in St. Cloud over the past weekend.
On Friday, we headed up north and made a fun stop in Kimball at the Millner Heritage Winery.  All good road trips need a wine stop!

After arriving at the convention, we walked around and enjoyed the Take Me Out To The Ballfield open reception.  We even stopped by the selfie station to take a picture.


Saturday morning, the annual business meeting began at 9 am and lasted for 2 hours.  The group had a nice Green Mill pizza lunch buffet before attending break out sessions in the afternoon.  I attended the PR class and Joanna attended the Certifications, Competitions & More class.

Following the classes, we attended the “graduation” party for the Hutchinson Area chapter in celebration of their 2 years of being an official chapter. Congrats Hutchison!


Being a first time attendee, Joanna was activity walking around meeting new people and getting her “first timer” book signed.  The more people you meet, you increase your chances of winning the honored award of Spotlight First Timers.



Joanna’s First-Timers Book and award

FWT had submitted a couple of entries for projects that we completed, and we walked away with one award for the best PR event with the Luke Bryan concert ticket give away held in June.

We also witnessed Jane Hansen from Madelia receive the very prestigious award for the US Ambassador award.  This is the highest honor at the US level.  So glad we were there to share in the joy of this event.

The evening held an optional craft event of string art.  We both pounded in nails and wrapped string until we had a beautiful piece to bring home.  

Sunday morning was brunch with a great motivational speaker to enlighten our spirit.  Before we were dismissed from the convention, there were 3 last awards to give out.  One was for the district with the most spirit and the individual with the most enthusiasm and to my surprise, I was called out!  Joanna narrowly missed the award for the Spotlight First Timers but she enjoyed meeting all the new people even without winning and had a great time!

Our trip wasn’t complete without a stop at Crow River Winery!  Great trip! Great friends! Great wine! – Sue Bay (with help from Joanna Borkenhagen).


Thanks for representing FWT at the convention Joanna and Sue! Frankly, I’m not surprised at all that Sue came a way with an award for most enthusiasm!

If you’d like to be a part of an organization that provides networking, education and fun convention opportunities, Fairmont Women of Today meets every 4th Monday at Jake’s Pizza in Fairmont. We start at 7 PM and are done by 8 PM.

4th Annual Baby Feeding Center at the Fair


Baby Feeding center set up in the Martin County Arena at the Fair

The Martin County Fair has come to a close one more year, and we had another successful run at hosting the Baby Feeding Center!

This was our 4th year with the Baby Feeding Center, and each year brings new changes, excitement, and of course, challenges.

One of the exciting things that happened this year was a the hosting of a Baby Cafe meeting at our center! Mom’s were able to meet with lactation experts, have their babies weighed, and talk to other moms raising babies! Thank you to Community Health Services in Faribault & Martin Counties for coming out to the BFC!

On the challenge front, we had all kinds of weather to deal with: rain, heat, humidity and wind. We lost a sign or two, the one fan that was enough last year, couldn’t quite cut it on the hot days this year. We also had some rain leak in the door, too.Even with all those challenges, Mom’s still had a quiet place to sit down out of those elements to feed their children!

We always include a suggestion box at the BFC and they are a joy to read.  We received lots of feedback again this year; including everything from “A Godsend” or “More Fans” to “A couch for Grandma to nap on!” (that last one gave us all a chuckle).  We appreciate the feed back and will use that information to keep improving every year.

That reminds me of all the people that we need to thank for making the Baby Feeding Center Possible.

  • Fairmont HyVee donated the water for moms to drink.
  • SHIP and  Community Health Services in Faribault & Martin Counties for your time, support and funding for signs.
  • Thank you to the Fairmont Women of Today members who donate their personal furniture, rugs, diapers, and wipes and haul it all out to the Fair for one week and then haul it all back home. We’d have an empty room without you guys!
  • Thank you to the mom’s for using the BFC and giving us great feedback!

We look forward to doing it again next year!

If you want to be part of the Baby Feeding Center, have ideas for the community, or just want to be part of a fun group of ladies that help each other out, make each other laugh, and eat pizza once a month, join us the last Monday of the month at Jake’s Pizza at 7 PM


The Long Way Home leads to friends… and trucks!


What does it take to get inside a fire truck, hearse, mail truck, and crane all on the same afternoon? Great organizational skills and the drive to reach out to the community.  FWT member Kathy V talks about what it was like organizing the Touch a Truck event:

My name is Kathy (Seidel) Vargo. I was born and raised in Fairmont and to quote an old Supertramp song, I’ve taken “The Long Way Home.” That reference gives a little hint to my age…Coming back to one’s hometown after being away for 30+ years is well,…an adjustment. I was thrilled to find a group of new friends with Fairmont Women of Today in 2017.

At a spring 2018 FWT meeting, our President Sue Bay discussed a free community outreach idea, “Touch A Truck.” I felt this would be a great way to get families outside together, see some neat vehicles up close, meet hard working individuals in our community and promote our group’s philanthropic community endeavors. Another member Elvira Houska and I decided to become the Event Chairs.  Our Group Leader Sue and the remainder of the group supported the event from beginning to end.

34777667_1690673547706697_7450991337630859264_nI have always been someone who enjoys group activities, music, theater, sports and collaborative work. It is very rewarding to see the ideas, talents and hard work of a group of unique individuals have a successful outcome. Elvira and I started working on the event by coordinating location and vehicle volunteers. As we started encountering others in the area who were excited to join in the event’s efforts, it fueled the groups’ enthusiasm. After the event, positive feedback from the many involved helped us to determine that it was a success. I believe that learning, growth and improvement is an important part of anything worthwhile.


Looking ahead, I am excited to be part of the Fairmont Women of Today’s future with this special group of women. Fairmont Women of Today members care about supporting each other and finding new ways that promote a strong and lively community where we live and work. I encourage anyone reading this to come to a FWT meeting or contact any member to learn more about the Fairmont Chapter of Women of Today.


We had a great response from the community at this event. Many of the visitors encouraged us to do it again next year!  Hearing that warmed our hearts, and then finding out the owners of the vehicles had just as much fun as the kids, made it even better.  We will definitely discuss putting this on the calendar for next year.

Do you want to be part of the discussion?  Join the Fairmont Women of Today to share your ideas and help us plan fun community events like Touch a Truck.

We meet the 4th Monday of the month upstairs at Jake’s Pizza