Top honour for dedicated volunteer
MARY Foley's determination to help those in need has earned her an Order of Australia Medal,
The Margate woman has volunteered for a number of organisations across the region for more than 30 years.
Mrs Foley said she was "stunned" when she received an email informing her she had been awarded an OAM.
"I didn't believe it, I had to get my son to read it as well," she said.
She first started helping out at the St Vincent de Paul Op Shop at Margate in 1989 and later became a member of the Redcliffe Conference and Our Lady of Christians.
Mrs Foley has also been involved with the Give a Child a Chance Program and sung in several community choirs.
She worked as a Diversional Therapist at Oznam Village Aged Care and continues to volunteer at the centre's chapel.
Mrs Foley said it was too hard to add up how many hours she spent volunteering each week.
"You do a bit here, and then some work at home on the computer and it all adds up very quickly," she said.
The 84-year-old said her role at Oznam Village involved "all sorts of jobs".
"Including organising entertainment, reading the paper to residents and encouraging them to get involved in activities at the village," Mrs Foley said.
Mrs Foley fondly remembers how she started a special birthday wall for resident who reached milestone birthdays.
"We would take their photo and put it up on the wall and tell a bit of a story about them," she said.
The mother of 12 said volunteering was rewarding.
"We help people who need food, clothes and help paying bills," Mrs Foley said.
"To help someone who really needs help gives you quite a good feeling."
She was not the only Peninsula resident to receive an OAM this year - Valerie Dawson was also awarded one for her services to songwriting.