Nagambie volunteer wins state award.By Chalpat Sonti
‘‘There are big ships and small ships, but the best ship of all is friendship,’’ one of Moz Fowler’s favourite sayings.
There are some awards that are truly richly deserved, and last week one of the hardest-working volunteers in Nagambie was just such a recipient.
Maureen ‘‘Moz’’ Fowler was presented with Aged Care Services Australia’s Victorian volunteer of the year award for her work at Nagambie’s Lakeview Lodge Hostel.
Mrs Fowler, who now goes into the running for the national award to be announced in Melbourne in November, has been a volunteer at the hostel since her mother, Mary Heaphy, was admitted there about 2001.
Mrs Heaphy, herself a stalwart of the Nagambie community, died in 2006 but her daughter has continued to work with the lodge’s activities and lifestyle staff to organise and run activities for the residents.
It is one of many community organisations Mrs Fowler is involved with — she is also a life member of the Nagambie Tennis and Football Netball Clubs among other things — and she was also citizen of the year in 2011. There would be few people who live in the town — this writer’s family included — who haven’t been touched by her help or offers to do so.
But it was clear she was especially chuffed with receiving last week’s honour. As she joked afterwards, she even gave up a golf game (she is a past club champion and narrowly missed out on repeating that feat last week) to be there.
‘‘I love coming up here,’’ she said.
‘‘Everyone’s so great .
When asked why she did so much volunteering, the modest Mrs Fowler was straight to the point.
‘‘My passion is I love Nagambie. It’s a great place to live and whatever’s happening I try to get involved.’’
And not just her but her family. Mrs Fowler was thrilled that her sister and brother-in-law Pat and Alan Pickering — the latter a member of Seymour football’s team of the century — came up from Melbourne for the award presentation.
‘‘I have a beautiful family,’’ she said.
‘‘I was brought up that you didn’t get paid for things you love doing and I tried to instil that in my kids.’’
She was also pleased that the award was some good news for Nagambie, after the division in the community over the proposed Black Caviar statue.
Health Department Hume regional director Tony Dunn and Nagambie HealthCare chief executive Amanda Fieldhouse paid tribute to Mrs Fowler.
‘‘When someone termed the phrase ‘salt of the earth’ they were talking about Moz,’’ Mrs Fieldhouse said.
‘‘She is kind, calm and never judgmental. She is embarrassed by any kind of praise or thanks and yet few deserve it more.
‘‘(She) would never put herself up for an award, yet she encapsulates all the qualities of someone who should be recognised.’’
What they said about Moz Fowler
Nagambie HealthCare chief executive Amanda Fieldhouse
‘‘Some of our residents do not have family close by, some do not have family at all. Moz will come in at a moment’s notice if someone is distressed or sad and will spend hours comforting them. We have had occasions when one of our residents is dying and has no family close by. It is not uncommon for Moz to be called in the middle of the night to come in and provide comfort so no one has to die alone.’’
Dorothy Jory, Lakeview Lodge resident
‘‘Moz has become a close friend, always ready to help in any way at all — to drive us anywhere in her car, to do any shopping, to lend a sympathetic ear, to comfort one in trouble — her kindness is uncritical and unending .
Frank Graham, whose late aunt was a Lakeview Lodge resident
‘‘Maureen gave all residents the opportunity to be involved in many activities, whether it be sing-a-longs, craft sessions, taking residents for a bus day trip, for shopping or to residents’ family funeral services, fulfilling all requests with such a beautiful caring and supportive manner — nothing was too much. Maureen never sought any ‘‘reward’’ for all the time and care she gave, something she gave with much love and happiness.’’
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