Founder of Sandy's Helping Hands nonprofit organization to represent community

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - Machel Heldstab has volunteered in the Sandy community since moving there 15 years ago, going so far as to create her own nonprofit organization, Sandy's Helping Hands. Though she wasn't raised in Sandy, Machel Heldstab has become a pillar in the community through the past 15 years.

The philanthropic Washington native hit the ground running when she moved to Sandy more than a decade ago. She has volunteered with several local endeavors, from her kids' schools to the Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce. She even created her own nonprofit organization almost five years ago, Sandy's Helping Hands. The constantly growing group runs an annual coat drive and adopts a family every Christmas, and actually served as the grand marshal of the Sandy Mountain Festival Parade three years ago.

"I volunteered as a kid and my mom was one of those people that if you didn't have a place to go on holidays, you were at our house," Machel said. "I think by volunteering for lots of other places I figured out where the need was. And that's how I got started."

In recognition of her charitable contributions, Machel has been crowned a member of the 2018 Sandy Mountain Festival Queen's Court.

"I don't really think of myself as someone who does a lot," Machel noted. "It's just natural to help out. I just try to help wherever I see it's needed. It's the day-to-day little stuff nobody hears about."

It's that modesty that befits a Sandy princess. Many court members are chosen because of their involvement in the community.

"I felt completely honored and humbled to be nominated. It was very unexpected," Machel said. I feel like me being a princess is a representation of the other great people around me."

Heldstab originally sought out Sandy for its small-town feel. As a child, she would visit Oregon to see her grandparents, and fell in love — first with Oregon, then — after coming to Sandy — with her husband David. The Heldstabs have raised two children in Sandy schools — Jordyn, 18, and Christian, 15.

"This felt more like home," she noted.

Machel has little experience behind the scenes at the Sandy Mountain Festival, so she is excited that being on the court "gives me a reason to be in every single bit of it."

"I'm looking forward to absolutely every second of it," Machel said. "I'm going to enjoy it, and I can't wait to be with the kids on the court."

Her husband, David, will escort Machel as Sir Boo Boo Bear. The name was derived from an old family tradition. Machel has had a teddy bear — a boo boo bear — that she and both of her children cuddled for comfort when they were sick growing up. Machel said David is a lot like that bear "in that you don't see him a lot, but he helps me with everything I do."

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