A child on an adult's shoulders points at a sunset over a lush field.
Feature Articles

Mother’s Day super moms

By Erin Malcolm 

Some superheroes wear capes; others raise children. In honor of this Mother’s Day, The New Falcon Herald talked with local moms to learn what it takes to thrive (and survive) in their irreplaceable roles. Each of these women talked about the triumphs, struggles and lessons unique to their individual motherhood experiences, and proved that mamas do deserve the title “super mom.” 

On fire for family 

For Amy (who wished to use her first-name only), the first paid female firefighter at the Falcon Fire Protection District, it seems as though her 96-hour shift at home can sometimes be just as eventful as her 48-hour shift at the fire station. She is a wife, a mom to five children between the ages of 20 and 8, a caretaker for her mother who lives with the family and for her father who lives in an assisted living facility; plus, she is a new grandmother. 

She gained her first child through marriage to her husband; when trying for another child, there were years of challenges with infertility and waiting to foster or adopt.

“We went through Denver Human Services for three years and still didn’t have any kids. No fosters. Nothing,” Amy said. Then, she received a phone call. “They had an emergency placement for us if we were willing to take it. So, we got our second kid. And then, a week later, we found out we were pregnant. And nine months (post pregnancy) after that we got our last two.” 

In nine months, they grew from a family of three to a family of seven. 

Especially with working outside of the home for long stretches, Amy keeps the household running with structure and the ability to rely on her spouse. “My biggest thing is just being present with the kids when I’m here,” she said. “It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the stuff I have to do. I mean, even for dinner, I try to have it done … so when they get home, I can focus on them,” Amy said. “That way, they feel that they’re valued.”  

Her priority for connection to people carries over to the folks she gets to help through her firefighting job. Amy said, “I love just helping the people no matter what it is, from a traffic accident to a fire.”

Volunteer victory  

Between her work as PTA president at her son’s elementary school and PTSA treasurer at her daughter’s middle school, it’s no surprise that Bobbi Lehman is being honored as a Volunteer of the Year in the Falcon Zone for 2024. 

“It’s super rewarding,” Lehman said. “Obviously, I’m not in it to get recognition. I just want the students and everyone to have a positive experience in school.”

Lehman gave up her career in the aerospace industry to prioritize family life after she and her husband of 16 years had their second child. “I was working 50 hours a week, and I could tell that I needed to be home,” Lehman said. “It definitely has been fulfilling and the right move for me.” 

Since making the switch, Lehman has made the most of her contributions by not only serving in the PTA/PTSA at her children’s schools for the past five years, but also by serving as a board member for High Plains Little League and as a substitute teacher in D 49 schools. 

She attributed her passion for service to her own upbringing. She said her parents instilled in her “the best way to impact your community or those around you is to be involved.” Because of that, she’s been involved in whatever she can, especially in schools. 

She plans to stay active in her children’s academics and extracurriculars for as long as she can. And to her surprise, even her pre-teen still thinks that seeing mom in class is cool. “I thought it would die out in middle school with my daughter. I thought she’d be like, ‘Ugh, my mom’s here.’ But it’s the complete opposite!”    

Lehman encouraged parents to “try to be as present as you can in their lives because it goes by super quick.”

A special calling

Melanie McDade has experienced the joys of watching all five of her children grow up, with most of them well into their 30s. Even now as a parent to adult children with lives of their own, she still finds ways to make her role as their mom as valuable as ever, especially as she continues to navigate parenting her youngest son, Jason, who is autistic and a 21-year-old franchise owner, church worship singer and Special Olympics gold medalist swimmer.  

As she recalled the early years of raising neurotypical children with an autistic child, McDade said, “It’s hard because when you get pregnant you have these ideas of what’s going to happen with them. Like, we have four boys and so of course they’re all going to play football, you know? And then, Jason was not able to do that. And so, you really have to adjust your expectations and be willing to go around things that maybe society tells you you’re going to have to do. He is no less amazing than they are, he is just going to go down a different path.” She said that being willing to help him down that path and not define him by her own expectations was a hard lesson to learn, but one that has made all of the difference. 

Advocating for her children, especially when it comes to Jason’s special needs, is one of the most important parenting tools she has developed throughout motherhood and is one she continues to utilize today. 

“I think a lot of moms are afraid to make a fuss. But you have to be able to advocate for your own kid and what they need,” McDade said. 

Today, that advocacy takes shape in the form of Access Christian Church, a newer church specifically designed to accommodate and empower people with special needs. McDade invented the idea for the special needs-focused church before the pandemic; and, with the help of the folks at the CORE Christian Community in Falcon (where she works as the manager of church involvement), Access was planted in late 2023.  

Leading up to that, the family experienced several years where they couldn’t attend church because the noise and activity was too difficult for Jason and his sensory issues. When they finally got plugged into Meridian Point Church about eight years ago, McDade brainstormed ways to help people like Jason experience church in an enjoyable way, such as using headphones and fidget toys during the service. But she knew that wasn’t enough.   

“We thought, you know, ‘What if we could do more?’ And Access was really just the logical next step,” McDade said. 

Access Christian Church is growing. McDade said, “It’s just a great community.” 

Gold Star strength 

Deanna Sartor is a Falcon resident since 2003 and a mom to three children (two in college and one in high school). 

On July 13, 2019, the family’s world changed when husband and father Sgt. Maj. James “Ryan” Sartor, a Green Beret, lost his life in combat.

Deanna and Ryan met at Texas A&M — the same school their oldest and middle child are attending — and eventually married. During their 17 years of marriage, Ryan was deployed 13 times.

After becoming a Gold Star wife — the term coined by Congress to recognize people whose spouses made the ultimate sacrifice while serving in the U.S. military — Sartor’s role as a mother held even more weight.  

“If I didn’t have kids, I don’t know if I would be here doing anything that I’m doing right now,” she said. “I think loving other people helps you be a better person. So, in a way they saved my life after losing Ryan,” Sartor said. The love that she has for her family is what fuels her strength to wake up each day and live a purposeful life that honors her husband and children. 

One major way that she finds purpose now is through her career as the director of operations at the Special Forces Foundation, an organization that provides immediate and ongoing support to the individuals and families in the Special Forces community.

Sartor’s first encounter with the foundation occurred when they helped her family after Sartor died. Eventually, a chance for Sartor to work there came up and she took it. She said, “It gives me the opportunity to give back to the community that supports us and to carry on the passions Ryan had for taking care of his soldiers and being a good example for them.” 

She views her job as a way to continue honoring her husband’s legacy and help people in similar situations. Plus, working primarily from home gives her the flexibility she needs to do her best as the only parent in the household. 

“I have to try to fill the dad shoes and be all the mom roles at the same time. So, there’s a lot of worry and fear about if I’m doing enough,” Sartor said. “I think all mothers deal with feeling like a failure and wondering, ‘Can I do this?’” 

But she has never had to do it alone, and attributes much of her motherhood success to the steady community that lifts her up. 

“I could not do this without my community of people around me to include the Green Beret community, the people I work with and the people of Falcon. There’s never been a day where I couldn’t call someone and ask for help and they wouldn’t come running,” Sartor said. “They all help me be the best mom I can be.”

StratusIQ Fiber Internet Falcon Advertisement

Current Weather

Weather Cams by StratusIQ

Search Advertisers