Campaigning for her own video to win a national contest is pushing an area veterinarian out of her comfort zone.

But after Dickinson County People served her and her family when they were hit by the tornado of 2008, Sarah Mills believes a little online self-promotion is the least that she can do.

Mills is competing against veterinarians and vet students across the country and Canada to win a mobile ultrasound unit. The contest closes today and the only way for her to win is to garner online votes from anyone willing to offer a click.

To compete for the machine, Mills and the other contestants crafted short videos about who they are and how a mobile ultrasound unit would benefit their practices. Her video is online and available for voting at

Due to the merit of her video, Mills has been selected as one of six finalists. To win, she needs to garner the most votes for her videos. Votes are due Tuesday.

To boost her campaign, Mills has launched herself into the worldwide sea of social media. Being a "very private person," Mills said this venture makes her feel a little vulnerable.

"But I realized, 'Oh, we're in the finals -- I'm going to have to learn how to social-network," she said.

The usage of social media for the contest was brought to the forefront by veterinary students in a younger generation who are social network-savvy.

To aid with her journey of deciphering the whole other world of platforms like Facebook, Mills has contacted various people for assistance with posting updates.

"I got my first Facebook page last week," she said Friday. "It's all new territory for me."

Mills said she's uncertain whether or not she'll catch the Facebook bug and stay on the site after the contest closes.

"It's been an experience,' she said. "I've contacted people I haven't talked to in 20 years, from high school and vet school. Wow, we do get wrapped up in our own little worlds.

"It's interesting when you reach out to people- the positive response you get back, even when you haven't visited with them in years."

It's that same attitude of gratitude toward people that motivates Mills to continue to campaign.

While a mobile unit would be convenient as a veterinarian, Mills said it's ultimately about serving her clients, especially those who stepped in four years ago to clean up and sort the debris.

The mother and wife of a farming family, Mills saw the devastation of all of their farming structures and buildings, as well as their house.

When groups like the Mennonite Disaster Service traveled in from other states to serve wherever needed, the Red Cross sent them to the Mills, saying the family would really appreciate some extra help.

Many pitched in to offer hours of volunteer physical labor. And Mills has not forgotten.

Now, she's positioned to give back.

Mills said the mobile ultrasound unit would allow her to offer ultrasounds during on-farm and homecare visits.

The machine would allow Mills to make decisions on the healthcare of companion animals, as well as livestock, in a way that is easy, fast and non-invasive. Ultrasounds for animals are helpful in any form, but Mills said the mobility component of the unit would offer an additional way to serve.

She said the unit would be especially helpful for elderly clients who can't get out of their homes easily and for livestock owners who prefer to have the vet visit the farm.

"It's mobile. It's small. It would be wonderful," Mills said.

She wants to give back to Dickinson County people -- to give them a higher level of care and remind them that she appreciates those who volunteered post-tornado to give disaster relief.

"They're not just clients," she said. "They are friends, neighbors and people I'm working with day in and day out. That's what makes it unique and fun to work in a smaller Community."