Haven cham­pion

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Australia Day - BY DEAN LAWSON

Life­long com­mu­nity ad­vo­cate Sue Ex­ell of Haven was among re­cip­i­ents of na­tional honours dur­ing last week­end’s Aus­tralia Day cel­e­bra­tions.

Mrs Ex­ell, whose ded­i­cated ef­fort in vol­un­teer­ing and rep­re­sen­ta­tion in­cludes a broad cross sec­tion of re­gional ser­vices, joined the Or­der of Aus­tralia, OAM.

Mrs Ex­ell ac­cepted the Medal of the Or­der of Aus­tralia for be­ing a strong and out­spo­ken sup­porter and com­mu­nity cam­paigner for Hor­sham district’s Haven com­mu­nity.

Mrs Ex­ell said it was both sur­pris­ing and over­whelm­ing to re­ceive the award.

“It cer­tainly makes you re­flect and think about what you’ve done, es­pe­cially when you see the list show­ing com­mu­nity in­volve­ment,” she said.

Mrs Ex­ell said be­ing a com­mu­nity vol­un­teer was gen­er­a­tionally in­grained in her fam­ily and get­ting things done al­ways in­volved groups of peo­ple.

“Every­one in my fam­ily has vol­un­teered time to com­mu­nity projects and groups. I sup­pose I’ve taken it to the next level,” she said.

“For me, it’s been about grow­ing up and stay­ing in the com­mu­nity and want­ing to put some­thing back.

“While many peo­ple moved away, I didn’t do that, and while Haven is al­ready a good place, I’ve been all about mak­ing it bet­ter for gen­er­a­tions to come.”

Mrs Ex­ell said her big­gest chal­lenge in any of her roles as a com­mu­nity rep­re­sen­ta­tive was work­ing with, and try­ing to help, peo­ple in the af­ter­math of Black Satur­day fires and the events and is­sues that fol­lowed. “That has been huge,” she said.

She co-or­di­nated com­mu­nity re­cov­ery projects and events fol­low­ing the fires.

Mrs Ex­ell re­vealed she had al­most deleted an email in­form­ing her of the award.

“I ini­tially thought it was spam and pretty much ig­nored it. Then my hus­band Gary sug­gested I had bet­ter have an­other look,” she said.

“For me to do what I’ve done has been all about hav­ing a sup­port­ive fam­ily.

“He has put up with a fair bit and it’s the same with the kids – I’ve al­ways been go­ing to meet­ings.”

Mrs Ex­ell was a mu­nic­i­pal coun­cil­lor be­tween 2012 and 2016, where she rep­re­sented the city on a Com­mu­nity Re­cov­ery com­mit­tee and Vic­to­rian Bush­fire Re­con­struc­tion and Re­cov­ery Au­thor­ity.

Her Haven com­mu­nity rep­re­sen­ta­tion is ex­ten­sive.

She has been a part of Haven Com­mu­nity En­ter­prise Com­mit­tee since its in­cep­tion in 2007, in­clud­ing more than a decade as sec­re­tary.

Much of Mrs Ex­ell’s com­mu­nity en­gage­ment has in­volved pro­mo­tion of re­gional sport, es­pe­cially through ten­nis and net­ball.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.