Wash. EMT uses pageant title to encourage volunteering
Colfax Fire Department EMT Lorien Smith, crowned "Mrs. Colfax," will promote her "Hope and Heartbeats" platform at the Mrs. Washington pageant
Moscow-Pullman Daily News, Moscow, Idaho
COLFAX, Wash. — The woman representing Colfax in the Mrs. Washington pageant said there is a misconception that the contest is all about the gowns, swimsuits and what happens on stage.
"What goes on behind the scenes is a lot of volunteer work," Lorien Smith said. "These women are really involved in their communities."
Smith, 38, helps her community by volunteering as an EMT with the Colfax Fire Department.
During her shift, she wakes up 5 a.m. and is on call until 6 p.m. to respond to emergencies. She spends the rest of her time homeschooling her two children and working as a part-time photographer.
Smith began training to be an EMT in November and incorporated it into her platform in the Mrs. Washington contest. Each contestant is required to have a platform, and Smith calls hers "Hope and Heartbeats."
"It revolves around getting involved in your community as an EMT or volunteer firefighter because especially in these small towns like Colfax and the surrounding areas, that's how they run their ambulance system," she said.
Colfax Fire Department Captain Scott Kruse is the only full-time employee in the department and he said without people like Smith, it would not be able to effectively respond to emergencies like fires, floods and injuries.
"She's just a great all-around person, very passionate about being an EMT," he said about Smith.
Kruse praised her for her work as Mrs. Colfax and for representing Colfax in a positive way.
"She's showing what Colfax is all about," he said.
As she prepares for the Mrs. Washington pageant in August, Smith said she has been struck by the kindness of the other contestants.
She was pleasantly surprised by the number of women who immediately reached out to her to offer their support after she was named Mrs. Colfax. She said Linda Hoffner, the current Mrs. Washington, helped her brainstorm ideas for her platform.
Many of the women also share similarities with Smith.
"A lot of us are moms, some of us are grandmothers, we have families, we have jobs, we have our volunteer work we're already doing," she said.
Her 11-year-old daughter is also a big fan. Smith said her daughter likes to adorn her stuffed dolls and animals in dresses and host a Mrs. House competition.
Smith said if she had to sell someone on the idea of joining Mrs. Washington, she would tell them about the friendships they will make and the opportunity to do something good for their community.
"It's pushing you to step outside your comfort zone to speak up about things that you're passionate about," she said.
(c)2021 the Moscow-Pullman Daily News (Moscow, Idaho)