Northern Rivers flood volunteer Kerrie Grey’s stark message to nation
When fires hit communities within the close by Richmond Valley in 2019, Grey helped run neighborhood shelters and coordinate the restoration effort. She was on the frontlines once more with neighborhood assist throughout COVID-19, however her limits had been examined throughout the Northern Rivers floods final 12 months, when Alstonville was minimize off and volunteers scrambled to assist neighbours in communities devastated by floodwater.
“In each fires and floods, the communities actually stepped up,” she mentioned. “Plenty of teams got here collectively outdoors the traditional emergency community that we now have as a result of it was simply so massive, and there simply weren’t sufficient volunteers in any of the organisations.”
The dearth of lodging for flood victims saved the evacuation centres busy and delayed the restoration. One 12 months on, the scars of the traumatic floods can nonetheless be seen, and Grey considers her work removed from executed.
“Sadly, you may’t repair one thing this huge in a short while,” she mentioned. “Lots of people suppose it’s throughout up right here, nevertheless it’s not.”
Grey admits there’s a delicate stability between caring for individuals who have misplaced every part and “understanding when to take a break”.
Finally, she says she will get extra out of volunteering than she places into it and gratefully accepted her OAM on behalf of her wider volunteering neighborhood within the Northern Rivers.
“We don’t do what we do on our personal, there’s an entire crew round us that helps us.”
The variety of ladies receiving Order of Australia honours has risen in recent times, though some advocacy teams say it’s nonetheless not sufficient. Ladies accounted for 48 per cent of these receiving honours on Australia Day, the best proportion of feminine recipients for the reason that introduction of the Australian honours system in 1975.
The awards additionally recognised 77 Australians for his or her contribution to Australia’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, whereas 45 per cent of the awards got for service to native communities.
Governor-Common David Hurley mentioned it was vital the awards mirrored the variety of the neighborhood.
“It’s encouraging to see a rise in variety within the Order of Australia,” he mentioned. “They’re virtually at all times humble to a fault, however I urge recipients, for at this time, to place apart that humility – it’s vital they know the way a lot they’re valued.”
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