Bismarck woman named 2023 North Dakota Mother of the Year
Melissa Schmautz is the 74th woman in ND history to receive the title
A Sanford child life specialist and married mom of two has been named North Dakota Mother of the Year.
Melissa Schmautz grew up on a family farm and ranch in rural North Dakota and married her high school sweetheart, Tyler, with whom she shares two sons. Schmautz has also worked for 16 years as a child life specialist at Sanford Health in Fargo and now in Bismarck.
While in Fargo, Schmautz helped start the first pediatric palliative care program in North Dakota and is working to start the same program in Bismarck. She also teaches at Minnesota State University Mankato and has been involved for 20 years with Kamp KACE (Kids Against Cancer Everywhere).
Schmautz is the 74th woman in North Dakota history to be named Mother of the Year, according to a press release, and she will join other honorees from across the nation at the 88th National Convention of American Mothers in April.
One honoree will be named Mother of the Year by American Mothers, Inc., a national nonprofit, non-partisan organization that aims to harness the power of maternal energy to make a positive impact in the world, according to the release.
Two North Dakota women have earned the national title: Dr. Renae Reinardy in 2019 and Elizabeth Bodine in 1968. Reinardy is a psychologist and director of the Lakeside Center for Behavioral Change who also served as program developer of CourageCritters.com, a plush animal and online program that teaches children adaptive coping skills.
Bodine was a humanitarian and mother of 18 who served as an active community member and education advocate; all of her children received post-high school education. In addition to being the National Mother of the Year in 1968, Bodine was also awarded the Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award in 1979, the International Year of the Child.
To learn more about Schmautz and the other honorees, visit AmericanMothers.org. Nominations are accepted each year from Mother's Day until Sept. 15.
American Mothers also hosts a weekly podcast called Mom to Mom and produces The American Mother Magazine.