A 97-year-old volunteer from Mandurah has been recognised for her unwavering volunteer work at a local retirement village.
Mildred Underwood was employed by Amana Living as a nursing sister back in 1970, then became Matron at Wearne House.
Her love for the facility was such that she volunteered there in her retirement, and was awarded the national 2022 Volunteer Achievement Award at the recent annual Anglicare Australia Conference held in Hobart.
In 1974, during her tenure as Matron at Wearne House, Ms Underwood began volunteering her time outside of work to assist in establishing the Wearne House Auxiliary Group, in conjunction with the local Red Cross.
Ms Underwood was the President and Treasurer of the Auxiliary and facilitated many fundraising activities for the care centre, raising thousands of dollars to fund large equipment purchases such as air mattresses, wheelchairs and high-care seating for Wearne House residents.
During her 13 years of employment at Wearne House, Ms Underwood also volunteered a great deal of time outside of her work hours and duties, "doing anything and everything" that was needed and became known as a loveable 'jack of all trades'.
The Auxiliary raised thousands of dollars through their Christmas raffle. As Amana Living is a not-for-profit organisation, this fundraising reportedly expedited purchases to ensure the delivery of professional services and the comfort of residents.
When Ms Underwood retired from her role as Matron in 1983, she formally commenced as a recognised volunteer with Anglican Homes.
During her retirement, Ms Underwood continued to volunteer in the Wearne House Auxiliary, and was involved in facilitating group enrichment activities, fundraising, event management, pastoral care and social support visits. She went on to volunteer for 39 years, only finishing-up recently.
Amana Living Chief Executive Officer Stephanie Buckland said when Ms Underwood was announced as the winner the crowd roared their approval.
"It was wonderful. Mildred has brought so much happiness to residents over the years and is deeply loved by all," Ms Buckland said.
"She has been a valuable member of our community and remains so."
Ms Underwood was unable to attend the awards night in Tasmania, but Amana Living Chief Operating Officer Jenny Williams presented her with the award at the 60th anniversary celebration held at Wearne House.
Wearne House Service Manager Sharon Maitland said Ms Underwood is a truly exceptional lady and has worked her magic volunteering long-term with other external organisations, too. These include Legacy, Girl Guides Narrogin (10 years), Alzheimer's Australia (20 years), and the Mother's Union group at Christ's Church.
"Mildred even helped link a former Wearne House resident with a contact at Legacy when the resident's gopher was stolen and vandalised, which resulted in Legacy purchasing this resident a new gopher," Ms Maitland said.
"Wearne House is a richer environment thanks to Mildred."
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