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Blind, 100-Year-Old Veteran Takes Home Crown at Alabama Beauty Contest

Blind, charming, and a faithful Christian

Blind, 100-Year-Old Veteran Takes Home Crown at Alabama Beauty Contest

She is legally blind, but still reads her Bible every day by using a machine that enlarges the text.

As new royalty, Felma Schrimshire, also known as Ms. Andalusia Manor, took home the crown at the 2011 Ms. Alabama Nursing Home pageant held at the Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover this week.

She won the judges and the crowd over 74 other contestants.

While Schrimshire, 100, did not have to endure the talent or swimsuit competitions normally seen in a beauty contest, the contestants all underwent 15-minute interviews before the crown was awarded.

"It was wonderful!" Schrimshire told reporters. "Everybody has just been so nice and so sweet and caring. It's just great. I don't know any other way to express it."

Schrimshire has an interesting life history.

She served for a year in the surgeon's office during World War II and taught Sunday school at a church for 78 years.

During her life she has traveled to 50 states, the Canadian provinces and throughout Europe.

"I was going into the Army myself," she told the local newspaper. "Not many women were in the Army back then, so much to my husband's relief, I got out after one year."

After her husband's death, she moved to Alabama. She now lives with her sister at Andalusia Manor, where she spends her time studying the Bible.

Her fellow residents say she tries to greet all of them every day with a smile and a kind word.

The Andalusia Star News reports that after hearing she won the crown she waved, smiled and saluted all three sections of the audience.

“She had a very lively presence on stage, and I think that won over the judges and the crowd as well,” John Matson, director of communications for the Alabama Nursing Home Association, told the Andalusia Star.

As a little girl, Schrimshire told reporters she wanted to be a Sunday school teacher. After completing a course with the Baptist Association, she became a teacher at age 12, and continued teaching for 78 years.

Visiting the Holy Land was among her most memorable experiences, she told the local news.

“I got the chance to actually walk where Jesus had walked,” she said. “I visited the Garden of Gethsemane and also go to go where Jesus was tried before his death and resurrection.

“The most impressive place I visited while there was the Place of the Skull where Jesus was crucified,” she said.

While she no longer teaches Sunday school, she still enjoys participating in Bible study at Andalusia Manor.

Schrimshire will travel to various nursing homes and community events to share her experiences.

During her reign, she will also serve as an ambassador for nursing home residents at several Alabama Nursing Home Association events.

The runners-up are:
1st Runner-up: Bessie Smitherman, Ms. Shelby Ridge Rehab Select, Alabaster, Age 90
2nd Runner-up: Katherine Sanders, Ms. Arbor Springs Health & Rehab, Opelika, Age 76
3rd Runner up: Verma Reeves, Ms. Lineville Health & Rehab, Lineville, Age 89
4th Runner up: Mary Lois Shannon, Ms. Willow Trace Nursing Center, Butler, Age 101

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