Region’s true treasures nominated for honour roll
FOUR WOMEN of the Northern Rivers have been honoured for their dedication to health initiatives with nominations to the Hidden Treasures Honour Roll.
The Northern NSW Local Health District recognised Aunty Patsy Nagus of Kyogle, Mollie Strong of Byron Bay, Aunty Muriel Burns of Maclean, and the late Pauline Plant of Yamba.
A leading Bundjalung elder, Aunty Patsy was born in the mortuary at Casino Hospital in 1957. Following in the footsteps of her grandmother, her spiritual teacher, she developed a passion for the well-being of her people.
She has spent her life volunteering in education and politics, is a regular face at the NAIDOC march through Kyogle, has attended rallies in Sydney and Canberra, and has even met John Howard.
Today, since being diagnosed with kidney disease, she campaigns for better and more culturally appropriate dialysis services for Aboriginal people, a relatively large proportion of who suffer from kidney disease.
In her own words, she acts as a "bridge" between Aboriginal and white Australia.
Mollie Strong is a woman equally happy selling jars of pickles at fundraisers for her local Byron Bay Hospital as she is directing multi-million dollar fundraising efforts for hospitals across NSW.
Born in Lismore, Mrs Strong was a nurse by profession and in retirement continued her devotion to health by playing key roles in the United Hospitals Auxiliaries of NSW.
The volunteer organisation, which she was state president of from 2010-2013, raises about $10 million every year for 202 hospital branches across the state.
On a smaller but no less important scale, she is also the president of Caroona op-shop in Keen St, Lismore, and a life member of the Northern Rivers Social Development Council.
The honour roll recognises the services of country women in the community and is a joint project of the Rural Women's Network, the NSW Department of Primary Industries and the NSW Centre for Volunteering.