Fourteen awards were given in recognition to extensive service in the Moderator’s Community Service Medals.
The 15 recipients (one award went to a husband and wife team) were recognised for their service to the Church, Church agencies and the community in categories aligned with UnitingCare’s Shared Values of compassion, respect, justice, working together and leading through learning.
Eight of the 15 recipients were able to attend a ceremony on 23 May as part of the 28th Synod meeting.
Beth Baker of Blackwater, Vera Otto of Pine Rivers, Elizabeth Landers of Mount Isa, Frank Robinson of North Ipswich, and Mr Wally Reid of Emerald were unable to attend.
Heather Newby of Gumdale sadly passed away just days before the ceremony, but was awarded her medal in a special ceremony prior to the Synod meeting.
Ms Newby has been a Lifeline telephone counsellor for the past five years, consistently demonstrating love, concern, sensitivity, kindness, charity, warmth and humanity in her actions with clients and colleagues.
She has also undertaken the role of volunteer training facilitator and shared her skills and experience with trainee telephone counsellors.
Ms Newby always made time to listen and improve the wellbeing of others.
She has been so selfless in her service that even her struggle with cancer did not interrupted her tireless work and she continued to perform her volunteer role right up to the time of her latest surgery.
The value of compassion was recognised in the work of Laurie Ward of Allora and Ancy Pratt of Kingaroy.
Mr Ward has carried out his volunteer work quietly and with great humility for nine years, showing his compassion for the elderly residents of Allora in many small ways, recognising individual needs and assisting people in meeting these needs.
He checks on the elderly people in Allora every morning and has helped saved lives by doing this. He keeps the gardens at Blue Care immaculate by working in them every day. For many years he has maintained the local cemetery gardens each weekend, keeping the grounds immaculate.
He spends Sundays doing extra tasks at Blue Care such as cleaning the BBQ area, tables and chairs. Mr Ward is also an integral part of the transport volunteer program.
Ms Pratt has responded to the needs of the frail and vulnerable in her community with compassion regardless of age, ability or creed for around 30 years. She has worked as a volunteer in the Red Cross Opportunity shop and Blood Bank, volunteered in the local hospital canteen and for Meals and Wheels, and is the Director of the local branch of Crossroads.
She also provides personal care to frail aged and disadvantaged people in her community, feeding and preparing residents in a local aged care facility for sleep; taking people shopping and medical appointments etc.
Ms Pratt puts the needs of others before her own and seeks no recognition for her kindness.
The following people received awards recognising their respect for others.
Beth Baker is involved with some aspect of community life every day of the week, volunteering her skills and working to advocate for the needs of vulnerable people in the community. Although she volunteers her time to work for a number of community organisations and is the point of contact for the local Uniting Church, it is for her work with indigenous people in her local area that she is being recognised particularly.
She has acted as a support and a listening ear to indigenous women involved in liaison work with the local school and in the health sector. She has supported the use of the Uniting Church buildings and offered hospitality for their meetings. Beth has also made the Church available for art classes for indigenous children and due to that success allowed local nuns to offer tutoring to indigenous children after school in the Church. Beth displays the uniting Aboriginal Islander Christian Congress flag in the Church and does many practical things to further the work of reconciliation.
Lew Huth of Park Ridge has been a Blue Care volunteer for many years, a lay preacher for more than 40 years and has worked as a volunteer across all sectors of UnitingCare. His whole life revolves around the service of others. He is being recognised under the UnitingCare shared value “respect” for his work as a lay preacher both with the Samoan community and the Carramar Nursing Home and Ningana Dementia Unit. He has shared his passion for teaching with members of the Samoan community studying to be lay preachers, mentoring, supervising and encouraging them. He leads worship and devotions for residents of Carramar and for those in the dementia unit.
William Afeaki of Kingston and Vera Otto of Pine Rivers received awards for their work for justice.
Mr Afeaki has been working in the Logan area for more than 10 year to bring together different cultures to live as one in a harmonious and healthy society. He has liaised between various language groups and the English speaking community, bringing about a deeper understanding of each other’s cultures and enabling improved interaction. His vision of bringing together different cultures has had a tremendous impact in the community, and has helped change the attitude and behaviour of many. His helping hand and listening ear has been much appreciated by the countless people he has supported.
Ms Otto is a founding member of the Pine Rivers LiNC (Love in the Name of Christ) and has been working as a volunteer and drumming up support for the organisation for 16 years.
LiNC provides a specific need for people with economic and geographic issues in the northern outskirts of Brisbane – providing safe, comfortable and dependable transport for people who need medical care at major inner city hospitals and who otherwise would have to depend on public transport.
Her work typifies the UnitingCare shared value of “justice” in focussing on the needs of people to ensure that they receive the best care possible despite their circumstances. Vera has driven hundreds of frail older people to and from medical appointments waiting with them and providing a listening ear on the way home.
Elizabeth Landers of Mount Isa, Frank Robinson of North Ipswich, and Dorothy Pickering were recognised for Working Together.
Ms Landers has been volunteering at Blue Care Mount Isa Respite Care for six years, working alongside staff three full days a week and participating in staff meetings.
She is valued for her ideas by the other members of the team (paid staff) and always works hard to ensure the clients’ needs are met and to be where the staff need her to be to assist them in their work. She also works as a volunteer driver for Meals and Wheels.
Mr Robinson has worked tirelessly for the Blue Nursing Service and then Blue Care, for 45 years, raising money to allow people to receive assistance with medical conditions in their own homes.
His ability to “work together” is illustrated by his appointment as area captain for the annual appeal for the suburbs of North Ipswich, Tivoli and Moores Pocket.
He was also elected as the Blue Care representative on the West Moreton Aged Home Council.
Ms Pickering has been nominated by the diversional therapist at the Blue Care Boyanda in Bli Bli, who values her hard work and dedication to providing a weekly program of craft activities for the residents. She has been volunteering for this work for 18 years .
Ms Pickering also organises a canteen for residents and fundraising market days.
She is “an outstanding volunteer” who also helps raise funds for Nambour Uniting Church and other community projects and groups such as Lifeline.
She taught at Sunday School for many years and was treasurer at Nambour Uniting Church for 10 years.
The Leading through Learning value was recognised in the work of Phyllis Johnson of Upper Mt Gravatt, Wally Reid of Emerald, Andrew and Anne Jeays of Mt Mee, and Robyn Everest.
Ms Johnson has been a volunteer telephone counsellor with Lifeline Brisbane for more than 10 years. At all times she has taken every opportunity to increase her knowledge and improve her skills to help improve the service she delivers. She has been enthusiastic about the potential that change can provide as a means to improve the overall quality of care that callers receive.
Ms Johnson has met every new project or innovation with an open mind and optimistic attitude. In addition, she has been tirelessly dedicated to sharing her knowledge, skills and experience with trainee telephone counsellors in her role as volunteer training facilitator.
She has also recruited others to volunteer, including her husband. Ms Johnson has been an outstanding example to both volunteers and staff though her endless enthusiasm for improved service delivery and her capacity to adapt to change.
Mr Reid has touched the lives of many through his community work throughout the years.
He has worked as a volunteer at the Lifeline shop in Emerald for 13 years, where the book section he has looked after turned a very high profit. He is known for his faith, kindness and patience, and has helped many new volunteers by passing on his knowledge and enthusing them with his enjoyment and satisfaction in helping the community, giving the new volunteers a sense of pride.
“Our dear Wally has touched the lives of so many through his community work throughout the years,” his nominator says. He has also volunteered at the Emerald Information Centre and read the weekly newspaper to the elderly at the local retirement home.
Anne and Andrew Jeays have worked as a team in much of their voluntary work, giving unselfishly in many areas of the community. They have worked as collectors for Lifeline and Blue Care appeals, worked for 20 years to maintain Mt Mee Community Church – fundraising, maintenance of church and grounds and making the Church available to the community.
They have worked for Mt Mee Community Association/Mt Mee Public Hall, fundraising, organising and catering for dances and concerts.
They have both contributed much to the life of Sandgate Uniting Church with Andrew an Elder since 1953 and Anne teaching Sunday School and contributing in many other practical ways for more than 40 years. Both are still active volunteers even though they are approaching their 80’s.
Ms Everest has worked for St Andrew’s War Memorial Hospital auxiliary for the past 36 years and has been president for around 25 years – the longest serving president since the auxiliary was formed in 1947.
She works an average of 26 hours a week in her role as president and also fills in for other members when they are unable to work.
She organises auxiliary members and their rosters and for the smooth running of the craft shop and trolley service to all patient rooms.
Ms Everest also makes cakes to sell and purchases all the goods for sale in the craft shop, trolley service and stalls and coordinates the donated items for sale.
Through her leadership the auxiliary raised an average of $52,000 a year during the time it ran a coffee and food shop. When the hospital required the space the auxiliary began to operate a craft store which now generates much appreciated funds for the hospital.