I am Erin Bertel, Mrs. North Dakota International 2015, but let me tell you about the “real” me not the beauty queen that you visualize in your mind. I grew up as a small town girl and went to school in Lake Park, Minnesota. Being raised by my dad who was alone and disabled. Joined by my grandma, along with my two sisters and my younger brother, together there were the five of us. Growing up with my dad and my grandma had its share of challenges as being non-traditional- but even then I was as blessed as I am now. Anyone that grew up in the 70s-80s knows about to good old days of being the human remote control for the TV, when your land line for your phone was a party line, and there was a home cooked hot dish every Sunday for dinner. It was a fundamental time that raised my standards of resourcefulness, a hard work ethic, and developed my moral compass to have a true north.
Today, I am a regular woman who wears yoga pants, makes dinner for own family, cleans my own home. I am not as different or glamorous daily as you think. I am a registered nurse and have worked in many areas of nursing since 1997, but the most important people that I have been blessed to take care of are my husband and best friend of almost twelve amazing years, John, an electrical engineer and co-owner of a warehousing business. We met years ago during a very lucky game of “Dare” that I was playing with my sister. Our oldest, our son Zachary who I bought a matchbox car for when he was a year old for less than a dollar and who’s first words were “vroom-vroom.” He has now devoted his life to the world of all things with wheels and motors. He is now almost finished with the Automotive Technology program at a Minnesota College. Our middle child, McKenzie, a senior at Davies High School and hot dog and hamburger cook at Sonic. She is my “mini-me” only with contrasting beautiful blonde hair. She has been accepted early into North Dakota State University and is following after me, and recently selected registered nursing as her major. Then there is our youngest, Elizabeth, who is a 6th grader at Discovery Middle School and is quite passionate about dance, reading and is learning to play the saxophone. She spends a good amount of time working on trivia facts and trying to stump all of us by her inventory of information. She inspires me daily through her inquisitive nature to never stop learning. A few months ago, we took in another honorary “son” that we affectionately have renamed Z-2, since his name is also Zach. He is a freshman at NDSU in the business program. He is one of the most kind and gentlest souls that I know. Together they have become the most thoughtful, clever and most inspirational people that I have ever met. We have a seven year old yellow lab, Sadie and two hermit crabs, Herbert and Shelly.
As a family we are one filled with faith in the Lord, loyalty to the Bison, adoration of the great state of North Dakota, appreciative of good coffee, generous with warmth and love for each other and together we are providing hope for the homeless.
Mrs. North Dakota International 2015