By Jessica Jones
For the Independent
Multi-faceted volunteer and hard-working mother of three, Tanya Derr, has been named the Female Citizen of the Year in the 2019 Stettler Business and Citizenship Awards.
Derr has been on the board of directors for Stettler’s Heartland Youth Centre for about four years, and has participated in numerous fundraising and volunteer initiatives. She is still in shock to be recognized as Female Citizen of the Year.
“I’m in disbelief,” she said. “I never imagined this would even happen to me, it’s a huge honour. I volunteer because I enjoy it, I don’t do it because I have to,” she humbly added.
Derr says that the Youth Centre is near and dear to her heart as it was a big part of her life growing up in Stettler.
“This is my way to give back to the Youth Centre for supporting and guiding me. I had a lot of important mentors there and I thought I would sit on the board to help them out,” she explained.
Not only does Derr make time to volunteer, but she gets involved with her three kids’ activities, in addition to working as an administrative assistant at Paragon Place.
“I want to be involved with my kids’ activities,” she said of her kids aged 14, 11 and seven. “I enjoy being a part of what my kids do.”
Most recently, Derr mentions, she had a hand in bringing the Royal Canadian Air Cadets to Stettler.
In past years some Stettler parents were driving their kids an hour away to Coronation to be involved in the Cadet program. Now, approximately 37 local kids are taking part in air cadets out of the Stettler Royal Canadian Legion.
“A friend of mine was taking her kid to Coronation and swore by the program and I thought, ‘Well, it’s not going to hurt’ and my daughter went out there and it turned out she loved it,” Derr said.
“There were quite a few of us commuting out there every week so then we decided, ‘Let’s do it, let’s bring the cadet program here.’
“I think it was a good move on our part; it’s been a learning curve for all of us, but it’s been exciting,” Derr said of helping build the cadet program in Stettler.
Derr has also been a member of the Stettler Kinette Club for the past 11 years.
The Club supports many charities and organizes an array of activities that give back to the community.
“I enjoy the members and the company of the people that are in the Club,” she said. “It supports a lot of the charities and that’s what I enjoy; I enjoy giving back to the community. They are great bunch of women and we have a lot of fun.”
And while she’s been a helping hand in numerous places, such as the Gadsby Ball Association and the Stettler Steel Wheel Stampede, just to name a few others, she has also opened her home to her sister’s kids when the time called for it.
“I’m here for my family when they need me and would do it all over again in a heartbeat,” she said.
When asked how she feels being named Female Citizen of the Year, Derr remains humble and would rather not be the primary focus. Instead, she thanks her community.
“I am happy to be here in Stettler and raise my kids in the same place I was raised. This is a great community.”