Alix mother finalist for small-town hero

Mandeja Sargent, an Alix mother and strong supporter of fitness and children, was given a grand reception last week

Mandeja Sargent, an Alix mother and strong supporter of fitness and children, was given a grand reception last week as she was introduced as one of 10 finalists for the third annual UFA Small-town Heroes contest.

About 100 people gathered in Heritage Park last Wednesday morning as the UFA contest team celebrated the local contestant and urged residents to vote for her through this Friday’s deadline.

The Alix Playground Society nominated Sargent.

“I was pretty surprised — it is an honour to be put in the top 10 (provincially), and that people think you make that much difference in your community,” said Sargent, who is active at Alix-MAC School and other youth organizations.

“As part of small-town community living, you have to be involved and take positions — otherwise, things don’t get done.”

Two grand prize-winners each receive $10,000 for a winning community project.

Sargent is already assured of receiving $2,500 as one of the runners-up.

That money goes toward a community project.

“It will go to the playground society to help build two playgrounds at the school and one at Alix Lake,” said Sargent, co-chair of the society.

Local organizers urge people to support Sargent in the contest online until this Friday, the last day of August.

“Vote for Mandeja, often and only once a day,” Turner said.

Alix Playground Society co-chair Darlene Turner complimented Sargent.

“The needs of her family and community are far above her own, and her involvements show it,” stated the nomination.

“As a farm wife, mother of three, and facilitator of early childhood literacy, her life is already busy, but she makes the time to help and give back to the community, without expectation of reward, and she inspires others to do the same.

“Mandeja has been instrumental in setting up the society, and raising funds for the Alix community playgrounds project.

“Her dedication to the playground society also extends beyond this project, as their next planned tasks are to upgrade the baseball diamonds and basketball court.

“She enthusiastically promotes health and wellness within the school and community through her involvement in parent council, Friends of Alix-MAC Society and hot-lunch program. As a fitness instructor, she has brought parent and tot exercise classes to our community; knowing that parents need to be. She is also active in minor hockey, dance and gymnastics (and) Santa’s Anonymous.”

Grand prize-winners are judged on 70 per cent on impact to community and 30 per cent for votes received.

From 65 nominations received, other finalists are from Rimbey, Olds, Champion, Okotoks, Chestermere, Devon, Smoky Lake, Falher and Teepee Creek.