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My Idaho: From Tragedy to Triumph

Posted at 6:23 PM, May 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-10 09:24:07-04

IDAHO — What do Big Macs, lamb chops, and grapes all have in common? It sounds like the start of a bad joke, but for Mindy Mayer, this is no joke.

As a matter of fact, it defines a life full of ups and downs.

Mindy Mayer's life was going in the right direction. She was one of the most successful McDonald's franchise owners in the Northwest.

"I got the opportunity to go to Portland and become the first woman franchise owner in Oregon," Mindy says.

But, life was about to deal her a major loss. Mindy's family, including her husband, son, daughter-in-law, and two grandchildren, was on a floatplane tour in Alaska when a storm rolled in.

"About ten minutes into the flight the plane crashed. My son's last words were, 'Mom, mom, look what I did to my family.' Because he knew right what had happened. So, I have lost five members of my family."

While recovering from her injuries, Mindy knew she had to go on with life.

"I thought, 'You know what, I'm just darn lucky to be alive and I better appreciate it and figure out a new way to make new memories.'"

One day, Mindy was watching a television program on sheep herding trials and thought it looked like fun. But, to do it, you need a Border Collie.

That's when she found Shep.

"I said, 'I just need a new best friend,'" Mindy says.

Mindy bought a farm near Wilder and contemplated her next move.

"I wanted to get some exotic sheep for my Idaho farm because now there's nothing on the farm and my friend said, 'Oh, I think you should raise these sheep called Kerry Hill.'"

A while later, another close friend told her about a winery for sale close to her farm. Now, Mindy's in the wine business with a winery named after her beloved sheep, Kerry Hill.

Mindy Mayer has proven that a lot of hard work pays off for any newly-owned passion. And that in life, you need to take it one day at a time and keep moving forward.