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Posted: 08/27/14

Above, from left, 2014 Peach Queen Kaitlyn Krimmel and her family, from left: Brendon, Edie, Robert and Kaitlyn.

(Observer photo by Chris Gray)

Peach Queen encourages others to be themselves

Observer Staff Writer
      When people picture royalty, they might not think of someone performing high kicks or snowboarding.
       But 2014 Peach Queen Kaitlyn Krimmel, 21, has found that perfect balance of elegance and strength, and is using her role to encourage others to break the mold with her.
       "You can be different and do other things at the same time that people don't expect," she said. "You don't have to fit a mold."
       Krimmel, a 2010 Romeo High School graduate, is the daughter of Robert and Edie Krimmel of Washington Township. Her brother, Brendon, attends Austin Catholic High School.
       Ever since they moved to the area from Macomb 18 years ago, the Krimmels have attended the Peach Festival. Seeing the Peach Queens as a kid was only one motivation for why Krimmel entered the pageant to become queen.
       "The reason I ran was because I wanted to give back to the community because they gave so much to me," she said.
       Part of what she was given was a sense of confidence and uniqueness she wants to instill in others. Krimmel embodies this by holding a black belt in American Freestyle karate. She practices at TNT Martial Arts in Romeo.
       She said she began as a dancer, but at age 8 decided martial arts would be her path instead. She said it helped teach her that life isn't about the destination, but the journey.
       "I like the atmosphere of it, and everyone is very encouraging," she said.
       She has put her training to good use. In her sorority, Phi Sigma Sigma, she served as the risk chair, a position that promotes health and wellness. As part of her duties, she taught her sorority sisters self-defense techniques.
       "It was ways to help keep them safe on campus," she said.
       She has continued this spirit of volunteerism ever since she was crowned in April. Krimmel has volunteered for a number of causes, including giving her time at the Samaritan House and Gleaners Food Bank.
       "I wanted to bring awareness to hunger within the community because people don't always have enough money to spread around for all their bills adequately and feed their families," she said.
       Krimmel's efforts also took her to Amanda Moore Elementary, where she spent six weeks assisting kids with reading and math. In turn, the principal asked her to be the keynote speaker for the fifth-grade graduation ceremony.
       Her desire to help others extends into her own education. Krimmel is a senior at Grand Valley State University, where she is earning a degree in allied health sciences with a minor in aging and adult life. Her plans are to enter the nursing field, though she has yet to choose what school to attend for her nursing degree.
       She said she was inspired to pursue nursing after taking a study abroad trip to Costa Rica to provide medical assistance.
       "It was very eye-opening," she said. "They were very grateful there."
       Aside her interests in karate and snowboarding, she enjoys other activities such as exercising, baking, reading and shopping.
       When it comes to the Peach Festival itself, she said she enjoys the Floral Parade, but always looks forward to the bed races. She participated in the event for three years, winning the Best Design trophy her first year in 2007.
       "It's such a crazy thing to watch because you don't see it all the time," she said with a laugh. "When I tell people that don't go here, they're like `what do you mean you race a bed on wheels?'"
       Krimmel has represented the Romeo area at parades in St. Clair Shores, Sterling Heights, New Baltimore, Algonac and Port Huron. She was also part of a group of former Peach Queens at the Woodward Dream Cruise.
       Krimmel is joined by 2014 Peach Queen Runner-up Erin Snyder of Washington Township. Snyder, the daughter of Pete and Amy, is attending Wayne State University to study occupational therapy.
       Krimmel said they discovered they went to school together when they were kids at Romeo Montessori, so it has been nice to become re-acquainted.
       "She has been a lot of fun to work with and a pleasure getting to know," Krimmel said.
       Along with attending parades and local events, they modeled in the Samaritan House Fashion Show, helped out at the Samaritan House Golf Outing and volunteered with Relay for Life in the survivor tent to serve breakfast.
       Krimmel will continue her reign as Peach Queen when Labor Day passes. She is asking young girls to join her in October at TNT Martial Arts for a "Princess for a Day" event.
       The event will feature movies, food, games, crafts and a zip line. Proceeds from the event will benefit Relay for Life.
       "It doesn't end after the Peach Festival," she said.

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