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Published December 28, 2012, 11:30 PM

Person of Your Year: Three Generations Daycare owners keep it going with a smile

FARGO – Sandy Schumacher and her daughter, Missy Eastlund, light up when they laugh. The duo practices plenty of laughter while watching 13 children each day in Eastlund’s Fargo home, which doubles as Three Generations Daycare.

By: Wendy Reuer, INFORUM

FARGO – Sandy Schumacher and her daughter, Missy Eastlund, light up when they laugh.

The duo practices plenty of laughter while watching 13 children each day in Eastlund’s Fargo home, which doubles as Three Generations Daycare.

Despite a year of family health crises, the pair says they like to keep a positive attitude, never losing sight of the blessings they have received, such as their successful day care and Eastlund’s two young children.

The women’s energy, positivity and genuine love they show families who bring their children to day care are what prompted parent Kristin Kemmet to nominate them as The Forum’s Person of Your Year.

“These two ladies put their all into taking care of numerous families’ children with the utmost dedication,” Kemmet wrote to The Forum. “I consider them my people of the year because they always give so much of themselves to others with the warmest hearts and never expect anything in return.”

Kemmet enrolled the first of her three children at Three Generations Daycare in 2007. At that time, Schumacher, Eastlund and Schumacher’s mother, Margie Wilson, operated the day care.

But behind their smiles, is a map of a rough 2012. It began when Grandma Margie suffered a major heart attack in May. Then in June, Schumacher’s husband, Missy’s father, suffered a stroke on a family camping trip.

Wayne Schumacher, 58, a diabetic with degenerative arthritis, suffered loss of kidney function and is now hoping to be placed on a transplant list. He is currently undergoing dialysis.

In the meantime, 35-year-old Eastlund is hoping she can be an organ donor but is on a mission to lose a few more pounds first.

“If that’s not a reason to diet, I don’t know what is,” Eastlund says with a laugh.

Despite their busy schedule and the ups and downs of 2012, Three Generations Daycare never closed.

“If we don’t work, that’s 11 parents who can’t work,” Eastlund said.

The day care is operated out of Eastlund’s home, but Schumacher, 58, lives just two blocks away so the two are rarely far apart.

They consider each other their best friend.

Although Eastlund is now on a diet to make her a prime kidney donor, the two women have long worked out together. They wake up at 4:15 each morning to hit the gym before a long day of child care.

They also began running Fargo’s half-marathon together a handful of years ago, Schumacher said.

In 2013, the duo plans to raise funds during the marathon that can benefit a local organ donation support group.

Kemmet said the women’s resilience is inspiring.

“They always put on a smiling face and calm demeanor to provide a stable environment for all the children in their home,” Kemmet said.

Eastlund and Schumacher say their family and faith make the difference.

Both women’s husbands routinely help with the day care, and both women are heavily involved in their church.

“We’ve just been really blessed through the years,” Schumacher said.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530

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