Known as a prevalent volunteer in the city, Wendy Contant has been recognized in the Best of Airdrie Readers’ Choice Awards as the community's 'best citizen.'
“I’m totally shocked and surprised and grateful,” Contant said about the win, adding she believes she won the award because she is always out and about the community of Airdrie, smiling at her fellow citizens everywhere she goes.
Additionally, Contant devotes much of her free time to volunteering and giving back to the community.
“I do enjoy volunteering very much and I’m at a lot of different events, and I’m guessing that’s probably why [I won],” she said.
When volunteering, Contant tries to help in any way that she can. Oftentimes, she tends bar for events, collects items for silent auctions, helps organize community initiatives, and is always there to offer a helping hand whenever and wherever it is needed.
“I just find it very, very good for the soul to be helping as much as you can,” she said.
Contant recently volunteered at the Airdrie Meals on Wheels Society’s wrestling event, which was held on Aug. 25. She also recently helped the Hair Lounge organize a children's event at the end of August.
One of Contant’s favourite parts of volunteering is the social aspect. She said she loves seeing everybody attending the events around Airdrie.
Contant has donated many hours of her life to volunteering, but one of her most memorable experiences occurred three years ago, when an Australian film crew came to town. Contant assisted with all the planning and organizing for the crew, who visited three times, staying for two or three weeks each visit.
“I found their make-up artists. I found a lot of locations and things that were needed and did the catering and absolutely everything for them,” she explained.
When the credits finally rolled on the movie the crew shot and produced in Airdrie, Contant’s name was listed as an associate producer.
Understandably for such a social butterfly, the last two years have been difficult for Contant, as the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a plethora of cancelled community events and volunteer opportunities.
“The phone calls started coming in, ‘We’re cancelling our event,’ … it was like, ‘Whoa, what’s going on?’ And that’s when it started to hit me, what’s happening with the world,” she said. “It was really difficult.”
Contant found herself feeling down and helpless throughout the pandemic because she couldn’t provide assistance to those in need.
“That was really a big challenge, not being able to get out and help like I wanted to,” she said.
In fact, Contant was surprised to hear she has been named Airdrie's best citizen, because she feels she has not been helping the community as much as she typically does during the last two years.
“I was shocked because I kind of felt like I’ve been slipping in my duties,” she said.
After COVID-19 restrictions were lifted earlier this year, Contant was able to resume her typical volunteer load and is anticipating a winter chocked full of events.
The Airdrie resident is also taking her efforts outside of Airdrie city limits, travelling to Olds in September and October to volunteer at two events. Contant will also be helping host the Pirates and Princesses Gala that occurs in February.
Contant plans on continuing to volunteer and serve the city of Airdrie for as long as she can – and she encourages others to consider doing the same.
“If there’s days when you’re feeling a little down and a little off, get out and volunteer and it really helps fill your day up with some joy,” Contant said. “I would like to say thank you to whoever nominated me and everybody that voted.”