FEW events stop Wendy Lawson to reflect on her life but a letter last week advising she would receive an Order of Australia Medal honour did more than that.
Wendy Lawson is coming to terms with three new letters at the end of her name, OAM and the news is yet to sink in.
“I am greatly surprised, flabbergasted, stunned and honoured to receive this award,” Mrs Lawson told The Singleton Argus.
She is also extremely humbled that someone would take the time to nominate her and can’t even imagine she is now among Australia’s medal recipients.
The secrecy surrounding the release of names has also caused Mrs Lawson some sufference and even now the news it out, she will have difficulty talking about it.
Her one regret, her mother did not live to share in this award. She died last year in Salinas, California, at the age of 96, the town where Mrs Lawson grew up.
“When I left for Australia she gave me an embroidered copy of an old Irish blessing. I hope she knows that this has been my guide as I moved within the communities I have tried to serve,” she said.
Mrs Lawson was recognised for her service to the community of the Hunter Valley region through a range of roles with environment, tourism and viticulture organisations including Landcare, Upper Hunter Irrigators Committee, Wollombi Catchment Water Users Association, Broke Fordwich Tourism Association and Tourism Singleton.
Mrs Lawson said she has always held the belief that if you are going to be involved in something you should give it your best shot.
“My dad at one stage during my high school years gave me a little poem that read something like this: At meetings of clubs by an effort of will I always contrive to keep perfectly still but without a word of annoyance or pity - wham there I am on another committee.”
While she is struggling to accept this wonderful honour, Mrs Lawson is justifying it within herself by saying it is on behalf of the groups she has worked with over the years.
“No-one ever achieves anything on their own, any decision needs to have a committee willing to put in the work,” she said.
Yesterday Wendy intended to celebrate with a glass of Catherinevale’s white sparkling wine, Calenblanc (named after grandson Calen whose surname just happens to be White.)
Former Hunter Valley Area Police Commander Des Organ received an Australian Police Medal and a former chairperson of the Mercy Aged Care from 2006 to 2008 Vivienne Llewellyn received an Order of Australia Medal for her contributions to the community, childrens services and aged care.
Mrs Llewellyn lives in North Lambton.