By SARAH MOONEYHAM
Carrying on a husband’s legacy—
Sandra Strain on her new role in Madison
After losing her husband, Warren, in October 2020, Sandra Strain decided to run in the special election to fill his seat as alderman-at-large for the city of Madison. She won that election, and last month she ran again for the next full term — and won! Sandra has two children and has already dedicated her life to service, both as a pageant consultant and as community relations director at The Orchard retirement home in Ridgeland. MCL Contributing Writer Sarah Mooneyham had the privilege to interview Sandra about her testimony, and we pray you are encouraged by her story of how God brought her through one of life’s toughest storms.
Sarah Mooneyham: How has your experience as Madison’s alderman-at-large been thus far?
Sandra Strain: Amazing. That is the first word that comes to mind. I have loved every minute … and I am so thankful. My favorite thing to do as alderman-at-large is to meet the people who live in our city. However, most importantly, I love being a voice for them when they need help and answering their questions. I cherish the opportunity to give this city guidance.
SM: How have your daily life and ambitions changed since your husband passed away last year?
SS: My life has changed significantly. Honestly, I did not expect to have a life after I lost my husband. I was so content and happy before his death. Then, when he became sick, my entire life was snatched from underneath me. Eighteen months ago, I believed that I could never live without him and could not take care of my family. I was terrified. However, my one mainstay was my faith. I took some time to allow grief to process, and then understood that God was and is in control. It is only by the grace of God that I have been able to see the light and enjoy my life. Now, I thank God that I am in a good place to serve my city. I give Him all the glory for this transformation and how He alone has brought me through the darkest of seasons. I would be nonexistent without Him.
SM: What made you want to run to fill your husband’s seat as alderman-at-large?
SS: It was my idea to put Warren in the political arena. He was such an incredible human being, and I wanted to share him with our city. He finally decided to pursue a political career after years of prayer and conversation. Once he began his career, we did everything together. Anywhere he went, I was there. We both had a massive love for our city and its people. Then, when he became incredibly ill, we discussed our political future. I told him, “No one will take care of this city like you and I do. I have to run. I want to fill your spot.” … Warren simply squeezed my hand, nodded his head, and gave me his blessing. The office was a gift from Warren to connect me to him and our city, and it was a treasure to know that he loved and trusted me enough to run for his seat. It has so much meaning to me on many different levels. It has given me purpose when I thought I had lost myself.
SM: How do you live out your calling through your job at The Orchard and as a consultant to young women competing in pageants?
SS: I have always had a special place in my heart for young people, senior citizens, and pets, and to have the opportunity to be an encouraging face for them is a privilege. For young people, I can be the person they can go to who will not judge them. Most of my volunteer work began with traveling to schools and teaching kids how to interview. Sometimes these lessons evolved into someone sharing their internal struggles with me — because kids often need a voice of reason that is not a parent or friend. They need love from someone who would offer them good Christian advice, wrap their arms around them and never condemn them. They almost always need a compassionate person who gives them his or her most precious resource, time. It is a miracle from God to see people receive His patience, love and grace.