In 2013 awards were presented to fourteen older Victorians at a Government House award ceremony. The biographies of each of the award winners are provided below.
Premier’s Award for Victorian Senior of the Year
Pat Smith from Highton
Pat was nominated by Uniting Care Geelong. Pat devotes an enormous amount of volunteer time to this organisation. In particular she has been recognised for:
Pastoral care and support for vulnerable people.
Coordination of emergency relief assessments and provision of help.
Establishment of the Education Assistance Program, an initiative which assists vulnerable students and their families to ensure that the students continue with their education. In 2012-13 this program assisted 437 students.
Pat is described as a real trooper, a person with great compassion, and a leading light within the Geelong community. Within the Geelong schools network, she is known as the person to turn to when seeking help for a young person to continue their education.
Her volunteer colleagues – mainly younger baby boomers – hold Pat in the highest regard, inspired by her mental capacity, her physical endurance in the face of her own health problems, and her unwavering commitment to the most vulnerable within her community.
Veterans Community Award
Graham Malloch from East Bentleigh
Graham was nominated by the Bentleigh RSL as a role model in demonstrating that age is no barrier when it comes to supporting the veteran community.
In particular they recognise his work for the Anzac and Remembrance Day Appeals. Behind the scenes he organises stock and trays and then spends up to eight hours a day selling in all weather in Melbourne’s CBD. He has achieved sales of more than $4,000 a day in this volunteer work.
Graham is a volunteer pension officer with Bentleigh RSL, assisting veterans with Department of Veterans Affairs claims. He goes out of his way to make people feel special, visiting their homes whenever this is required to have them feel comfortable with the process.
He is a remarkable 92 year old, described as
going above and beyond any expectations of a volunteer, nothing is ever a chore, and anyone who has come into contact with him should be honoured to have met a man like him.
Healthy and Active Living Award
June Hansen from Spotswood
June’s perseverance in dealing with her own health issues transformed her into a person who demonstrates to others how they can best deal with the challenges they face.
Nominated by Western Health for her extensive volunteer work with patients attending the Cancer Ward and Emergency Departments, June knows from the heart how to bring comfort and hope to people who are at their most vulnerable, listening and acting in ways that are informed by her own experience of cancer at an early age.
She is known as a very resilient woman who provides practical, hands on support to help people through their illnesses and the life changes they experience.
In addition to her role at the Western Hospital, she serves the broader community through volunteering at the Royal Women’s Hospital and Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute.
As a mentor, she trains volunteers to become advocates on behalf of patients and their families on issues such as transport and access to services.
Promotion of Multiculturalism Award
Jill Pattenden from Swan Hill
Jill was nominated by the Swan Hill Community Issues Group in recognition of her full time volunteer role in the Swan Hill community. She is active in adult literacy programs, community and aboriginal welfare programs, and, of particular relevance to this award, in a church based refugee support program.
In the latter role she has given thousands of hours to refugees and asylum seekers settling in the region by teaching English, supporting them to become independent, and as an advocate to the broader community for multicultural diversity.
She is recognised for always seeing the positive in situations and taking every opportunity to promote multiculturalism. Two of her many initiatives are Face to Face, a cultural awareness program aimed at the general community; and the Welcome to Refugees program which offers social opportunities for newcomers to the area.
COTA Victoria Senior Achiever Awards
Pamela Adams from Wodonga
Pamela was nominated by the City of Wodonga for her volunteer work across the community.
Wodonga’s citizen of the year for 2013, Pamela is a highly valued volunteer with the Albury-Wodonga Foodshare Centre and Foodshare Community Garden.
For the past nine years she has been the Foodshare coordinator five days a week and her role is very extensive. She uses her practical skills to grow food and make preserves and her organisational talent to ensure the successful collection and distribution of food to meet community demand. Foodshare helps on average 330 families per month.
Among her many community roles, Pamela is the convenor of Red Cross Telecross North East Service, undertaking a range of administrative, training, policy and response tasks.
Dr Bruce Coller from Berwick
Each Saturday Dr Coller drives from Berwick to Flemington to teach newly arrived African students through the Australian African Foundation for Retention and Opportunity (AAFRO) Tutoring program.
A retired teacher of Chemistry and Environmental Science at Monash University, Dr Coller assists students with their maths and science and helps them develop independent learning and study skills, inspiring them to continue their studies.
His work with the students has contributed in large part to the creation of a nurturing environment for these young people, many of whom are from refugee backgrounds and do not have grandparents in their lives. Dr Coller is a role model and provides the children with insight into Australian culture and the values and knowledge of his generation.
Barbara Dohle from Dunkeld
Earlier this year, Barbara was awarded a Southern Grampians Shire Council Australia Day Community Recognition Award for her contribution to the community of Dunkeld.
Age is no barrier to Barbara, a modest and tireless volunteer with several organisations in the Dunkeld community. As the garden curator at Dunkeld Museum, Barbara tends the heritage garden, and kept plants alive with extra care during the recent drought. She also shares her extensive knowledge of local history with museum visitors.
Barbara also volunteers with the Red Cross, the local Country Fire Authority and the Hamilton Pastoral and Agricultural Society. In her spare time, she keeps an eye on locals in need of care, visiting them with food and providing assistance when she can.
Lindsay Doig from Melbourne
Lindsay was nominated by Life Activities Clubs Victoria, in recognition of his dedicated advocacy for the advancement of the wellbeing of older Victorians. A driving force for change, he is a person who supports and empowers others to get involved.
Lindsay was the founding president of Life Activities Clubs Victoria and a founding member of the City of Port Phillip University of the Third Age (U3A). He continues to have a very active role in both these organisations.
He is recognised as a thorough and committed volunteer, often taking on the behind the scene tasks central to the ongoing success of community organisations.
He is a constant champion of issues affecting seniors in all walks of life. Through his volunteer and committee work with Certified Practicing Accountants Australia (CPA), where he has held a number of official roles, he has been instrumental in developing resources to assist CPA members to be better informed advocates in the prevention of elder abuse.
Beryl Logie from Ashburton
Beryl was nominated by Arthritis and Osteoporosis Victoria for her outstanding contribution helping people who live with the pain and discomfort of osteoporosis and for her advocacy to the broader community.
She has been the President of the Melbourne Osteoporosis Peer Support Group for 16 years, a group with over 100 members. Everyone who is fortunate enough to come in contact with Beryl describes her as an inspiring role model who encourages and motivates people to take control of their condition and live healthy and fulfilling lives.
She has helped many people to move from despair to a life of achievement and possibility.
In the broader community Beryl raises awareness of osteoporosis by sharing her knowledge and information with over 5,000 people through her contact with organisations, and through radio and media, advocating to improve community health and wellbeing.
Dr Javad Macsood from Templestowe
Javad was nominated by the City of Manningham for his volunteer work, particularly as a champion for multiculturalism. He is the President of the Iranian Senior Citizens Club.
Since 2007 Javad has been a very effective volunteer supporter of the Migrant Information Centre’s Community Partners Program. In particular he has ensured that many older people from a CALD background have been able to participate.
His advocacy led to increased awareness within the older CALD community of what mainstream and CALD focused services are available to them.
His commitment to collaboration is highly respected by Council and the community. As a result of his efforts many organisations in Manningham now share resources, have closer relationships and attract a more diverse range of members.
His passion for fostering and celebrating the cultural richness of his community has led to many friendships between people of different backgrounds, often established over a shared meal or attendance at a cultural event.
Janice Morris from Angelsea
Janice was nominated by Anglesea Community House for her exceptional contributions to the local community of Anglesea and beyond. Among her achievements are:
- Committee member and active member of the Anglesea Community House.
- Initiation of the Have-a-Go Holiday program which provides a week’s free holiday to people from drought affected areas of Victoria.
- Editor and volunteer manager of the community publication, Newsangle.
- Revitalisation of Burnside Camp used by many schools and social groups and which has become a source of local employment
- Weekly work at the Seaside Opportunity Shop.
She offers support and encouragement to many people who are in need or who are new residents in her community and does this with compassion and a love of community life.
Elsie Mutton from Doncaster East
Elsie was nominated by the U3A Network Victoria with support from other community based organisations. In everything she does, Elsie is regarded by her peers as an outstanding advocate for positive ageing. She is described as a “lead from the front, nothing is impossible” person, regularly showing that achievement and creativity don’t stop at 60.
Within the U3A world, she is a long time leading member of the Nunawading U3A, President of U3A Network Victoria and coordinator of the Asia Pacific Alliance of Universities of the Third Age.
Elsewhere her leadership of community projects includes her role in the Knitting for Vulnerable Children of the World project, resulting in 1.5 million garments being shipped overseas since 2005 from the Nunawading U3A distribution base; her establishment of major local events aimed at ensuring greater social connection amongst older people; and the creation of the Whitehorse purpose built computer lab which has enabled more than 6,000 older residents to undergo IT training.
John Nicolaou from Reservoir
John was nominated by Spectrum Migrant Resource Centre - the Northern Federation of Ethnic Senior Citizens Clubs for his volunteer work with older Victorians from CALD backgrounds and in particular with those from the Greek community.
John has been President of the Reservoir Greek Elderly Citizens Club for many years, and the organisation flourishes, with more than 200 members. While he undertakes many tasks in association with this role, one of the simplest and most positive initiatives has been his establishment of walking groups – he has set up more than 30 of these groups.
He has been actively involved with the Darebin Ethnic Community Council for 10 years and the Northern Federation of Ethnic Senior Citizen Clubs president for 14 years and has served on many council committees. John is a motivated and active volunteer, working to overcome isolation and mobility issues facing older residents.
Dr Heather Wheat from Melbourne
Heather was nominated by Life Activities Clubs Victoria, for her volunteer leadership and hands on work for their organisation, and in recognition of her volunteer work elsewhere.
The common theme is that Heather inspires people to participate and get the most possible out of life as they grow older. She was a founding member of the Port Phillip U3A, and over the years has coordinated many special events and seminar series. She has been Secretary of Life Activities Clubs Victoria since 2009, helping to drive a period of growth that has resulted in 22 active clubs in Victoria, and she is a passionate contributor to the Victorian Seniors Festival.
A former Mayor of Port Philip describes Heather as displaying the modest character of many people who make large contributions and as having established strong foundations in all the community organisations to which she has belonged.