In December, we asked you to nominate the remarkable women in your life for some special recognition. We received many incredible nominations from all over KELOLAND. Now we’ve selected four finalists and will be sharing their stories with you every Tuesday this March.
Our next 2021 Remarkable Women nominee is Trishia Fischer.
“I raised three children on the farm,” Fischer said. “I did not grow up in Menno but Menno is honestly one of the best places that you could live.”
In her rural community, Trishia Fischer has worn many hats.
“I worked at the school for two years as a paraprofessional with special education,” Fischer said.
After completing a new degree, Trishia became the Menno school counselor two years ago.
“When covid hit in March, our administration was really proactive in making sure kids took their computers home, we had a feeling we’d be home for a week or so, we didn’t know it would be for the whole year,” Trishia said.
Much of her new counseling career has centered around the coronavirus pandemic.
“I would actually go to some houses, I would drive by, stop in and be able to see them just to do a safety check,” Trishia said.
“I don’t think every school guidance counselor got as involved as I think she did. She really reached out and checked on kids,” Trishia’s nominator Betsy Knodel said.
Over the past year, Trishia has gone the extra mile and beyond. Sometimes driving 15 or more miles away to check in on students in person. Making sure all of Menno’s students made it through quarantine safely, both mentally and physically.
“Another teacher, her and I started getting free lunches for the kids during covid last March,” Trishia said.
Now that the kids are back in school, she no longer has to drive out to student’s homes to deliver food, but she’s still leaving bags of food in lockers for students to take home.
“What would I do if that was my kid or if that was me?” Trishia said.
“She’s just such a kind spirit that does so much for others, but she never wants to have others acknowledge that, she’s always so humble,” Knodel said.
Betsy Knodel nominated Trishia as a Remarkable Woman whose continued acts of kindness behind the scenes can often go unnoticed.
“She does things without being asked and just has this kindness to her that I think women of excellence need to have, yet she’s still the kind of person who always wants to better herself,” Knodel said.
“My original field was the alcohol and drug field,” Trishia said. “I got my masters in marriage and family therapy.”
Before she moved to Menno, Trishia spent 10 years working at the Carol Institute in Sioux Falls, working with individuals and families battling addiction.
“We need to get back one more generation to help, it takes three generations to change addictions sometimes, if not more,” Trishia said.
It’s work that inspired her to focus her efforts on the next generation.
“The kids are our future,” Trishia said. “Now especially we need to put more into our kids than we ever have before.”
It’s why she’s not only connecting with kids at school.
“A lot of these kids go to our church here in Menno too, we have over 80 kids that go to church here,” Trishia said.
She and her husband also lead their church youth group with nearly 30 high school students from their small community.
“We have amazing kids. They go above and beyond with raking people’s yards and painting the baseball park,” Trishia said.
“I think we have a lot of exceptional people in our community that really try to reach out and help other people, that are willing to give of themselves with no sense of what am I going to get from this in return,” Knodel said.
“I do the things that I do because it needs to be done,” Trishia said.
While Trishia believes her actions don’t qualify as remarkable.
“She doesn’t think, she, like everybody, I’m not that different, you don’t realize how different you are until you see yourself through someone else’s eyes,” Knodel said.
It’s clear her caring and compassion are making a big impact on the future of the community that she loves.
Trishia not only spends time with Menno’s youth, but she’s also built lasting relationships with some of the community’s oldest residents, another reason she was nominated as one of KELOLAND’s Remarkable Women.