Priceless volunteers awarded by Moderator

2008 Moderator’s Medals awardees present at the Synod meeting on Sunday 2 November with Moderator Rev Bruce Johnson and UnitingCare CEO Anne Cross. Photo by Osker Lau

UnitingCare Chief Executive Officer Anne Cross announced the 10 awards (including one joint award) for the 2008 Moderator’s Medals on Sunday 2 November, day two of the Queensland Synod meeting.

Ms Cross said it was exceedingly difficult to narrow down the field of recipients due to the high standard of volunteers nominated. Six of the 11 successful nominees were present to accept their awards.

Gwenda Rowe was recognised for her work with refugees in the Logan Central Multicultural Congregation’s welfare service Community Life Support and Access.
Ms Cross said Ms Rowe has constantly shown genuine care and concern as a service provider for the settlement of refugees.
“Know as Aunty Gwen by many refugees, she has provided a friendly and understanding hand to assist people getting settled in Australia,” said Ms Cross.

Pam Woodhouse was nominated by two different groups, demonstrating the breadth of her volunteer work.

Ms Woodhouse has worked with BlueCare in Southport for the past 35 years in many capacities and groups including the Southport BlueCare Auxiliary (who have raised over $1m in the last 10 years for aged care on the Gold Coast), 12 years volunteering for meals on wheels, 27 years as a supporter of Rotary and is an active member of Southport Uniting Church congregation.

Ms Cross said she is known for "Having the job done while the rest of us are still thinking about it".

Jan Davis has spent the past 19 years finding a voice for the voiceless in our prisons and fighting for restorative justice. Her work with the Prison Fellowship began by writing letters to inmates: a small act that has turned in to a life long passion. In the lead up to Christmas, Ms Davis is busy helping organise the Angel Tree program in Queensland, an initiative of Prison Fellowship that provides more than 1500 Christmas gifts for children of prisoners across Queensland.

A joint award was presented to Win and Eric Westacott who between them have 36 years of volunteer work at St Andrews War Memorial Hospital under their belts.

Ms Cross said the Westacott’s work in the area of patient escorting was invaluable for patients, their families and staff alike.

She said they have loyally provided this service twice a week for many years.
“Win and Eirc are know by all at St Andrews for their extraordinary commitment and compassion.”

For 45 years Estelle Charlish has been doing volunteer work.

Ms Cross said Ms Charlish was known in the Murgon area for, “Representing the church wherever she goes”.
Ms Charlish has volunteered for numerous organisations from aged care assistance to meals on wheels, the National Seniors Group.

The remaining Moderator’s Medal recipients will be presented with their awards in ceremonies across Queensland. They are Daphine Benfield (Redbank), Shirley Pratt (Bundaberg), Norma Barry (Emerald), Flo Collins (Emerald), and Rae Percy (Cairns).

Ms Cross thanked all of UnitingCare’s 8500 volunteers and said the organisation was indebted to those people.
“UnitingCare is the people – the volunteers, the staff and the chaplains based all across the State.”

Photo : 2008 Moderator’s Medals awardees present at the Synod meeting on Sunday 2 November with Moderator Rev Bruce Johnson and UnitingCare CEO Anne Cross. Photo by Osker Lau