Hanna Elshoff will present her speech, "Going Home," at the Chatfield United Methodist Church Mother-Daughter Banquet on Monday, Feb. 18.
Hanna Elshoff will present her speech, "Going Home," at the Chatfield United Methodist Church Mother-Daughter Banquet on Monday, Feb. 18.
Go home with Hanna Elshoff.

You'll appreciate her new country people collection.

"I want to inspire people to appreciate this country," said Chatfield speaker Elshoff - a native of northern Germany who came to the United States in 1961. She will present her speech, "Going Home," at the Chatfield United Methodist Church (CUMC) Mother-Daughter Banquet on Feb. 18.

"I came from Germany when I was 18, and I didn't speak any English. I lived near Hamburg, and my brother had the farm I live on now outside of Chatfield. Some people in Fort Dodge, Iowa, sponsored me," shared Elshoff.

She came to the United States when she was 18 because she felt she had to do it before she got too old, while she still had an adventurous spirit.

Elshoff arrived and enthusiastically took on the task of learning to speak English, then established herself in the Chatfield area, working on the farm, eventually becoming a foster parent and a nanny.

Her own children, foster children and nanny charges grown, she now is employed at Madonna Towers in Rochester as a home health aide and spends her free time at Toastmasters and as a part of the Chatfield Lions Club, organizations for which she feels dedication and passion.

"My hobby is going to conventions...I'm going to the International Lions Club convention in Hamburg this summer," she said.

The immigrant is exuberant in sharing her story, one which she wasn't able to tell confidently until recently, after joining the Bluff Country Toastmasters and a chapter of Toastmasters that met in Rochester, building her speaking skills and "collecting people."

"My speech is the 'icebreaker' speech that we have as our first speech in Toastmasters. When I started Toastmasters, I wasn't able to stand up in front of a group of people, but after about six months, I was able to give my icebreaker speech, and it became famous," Elshoff explained. "It tells how I feel about the United States and what the American people have done for me. It has allowed me to meet lots of new people - I like to do that. I collect people, and I just want the opportunity to thank people in the U.S.A. for what they've done for me. That's why it's important for me to speak."

The Rev. Debra Collum, pastor of Chatfield United Methodist Church, shared that she and her congregation want to reintroduce the tradition of the Mother-Daughter Banquet to the Chosen Valley.

"We're excited to have speaker Hanna Elshoff, who will be sharing some of her fascinating story of coming to America, and a fine meal will be catered and served by the men of the church, who want the women of the Chosen Valley to know how much they are appreciated," Collum said. "All women - mothers, daughters, grandmothers, granddaughters, aunts and sisters are invited to this banquet in their honor. A wonderful program is planned, including Hanna bringing her story, Steve Strickler will provide music, and a mother-daughter tribute will be shared by special guests. Each woman will leave with memories of a special evening, as well as inspirational gifts of laughter, encouragement and a token of honor. It's an evening out to enjoy good food, fellowship and reflection."

The Chosen Valley Mother-Daughter Banquet is slated for Monday, Feb. 18, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Chatfield United Methodist Church, served by the men of CUMC.

Tickets are available prior to the event at Chatfield UMC, JAC's Bar and Grill, Mane Street Attractions, Shear Class, Roy's Barbershop, or at the door if not sold out. Cost is $8 per person. Chatfield United Methodist Church is located at 124 Winona St. SE, Chatfield. For more information, call CUMC at (507) 867-3529.