Two volunteers nominated as Small Town Heroes


Two long-time Ponoka volunteers and supporters of the community proposal to build a splash park in Ponoka have been nominated in the UFA Small Town Heroes contest.

Dennis Jones and Darlene Maas have been nominated for the honour by their co-workers, which brings with it a concert by country music star Paul Brandt and $2,500 for the winner’s cause in the community. Eight runners-up will receive $1,000 prizes for their town.

Jones’ nomination reads that he has volunteered for many organizations in Ponoka, is a volunteer firefighter, and as branch manager at Servus Credit Union, supports community projects such as Make a Wish Foundation, Tim Hortons Camp Day and the Dairy Queen Children’s Miracle Network. On Jones’ initiative, the credit union is support the splash park fundraiser by hosting pancake breakfasts and barbecues.

For several years Jones has walked in the Relay for Life Cancer Society event, motivating others to see the value in giving back to the community.

Darlene Maas works full-time as a unit clerk at The Centennial Centre for Mental Health and Brain Injury and is considered the glue that holds the unit together.

Almost a decade ago, Maas lost her husband unexpectedly and was left to care for a blended family of five children. Over the years, she not only attended every game or event that her children were involved in, but she herself got involved. She coached for YBC bowling, kept score for softball games, drove for the school during curling season, and drove for safe grad even when her children weren’t in the graduating class.

For at least the last 10 years, in addition to evenings and weekends, Maas has used up 49 vacation days to volunteer at the Ponoka Stampede.

For many years she has been an active member of the Ponoka Kinettes Club, including being president for the last two years. Not only has Maas helped build playgrounds for the kids of Ponoka, as president, her mission has been to raise enough money to open the Ponoka Splash Park.

To vote for these local nominees, go to and select them by name or by home town. You are permitted to cast one vote per day until the contest closes Aug. 26.

The winners will be announced on or before Sept. 30.