MPW.69 / 2017 Shelia Salmons: A Voice of Calm by Gabrielle Saveri
Photographer
Gabrielle Saveri Sonoma, Calif.
Team Chapnick

Story Summary

Within the stillness of the country town of Eldon, Shelia Salmons is one busy woman. Most days, you’ll find her cooking breakfast and lunch for 680 kids at South Elementary School, before rushing off to tend to her nine children – Bailey, 23, John, 22, Claire, 20, Sam, 18, Emma, 16, Wil, 12, Jud, 11, Maggie, 5, and Ashley, 4. She, and her husband Tyler, a fence builder, wintertime snow-pusher, and owner of a 700-acre farm, do their best to manage their 120 head of cattle, eight full-grown pigs, three dogs, three cats, and five chickens at their three-bedroom basement home. They’re also currently bottle feeding four unclaimed baby pigs, and a calf since it is, after all, calving season. Their days are long, but in the midst of the chaos, Shelia remains a devoted wife, loving mother and bastion of calmness.