Woman of the year 'gives back' after truck crash
WITHOUT Evans Head volunteer Merilyn Ensbey, a lot of community groups would be far poorer and lacking support.
Groups benefiting from her fundraising and attention over the years include the North Coast Truckers, the Woodburn Orchid Society, the Woodburn-Evans Head RSL Day Care Club, the Senior Citizens' Club and the Uniting Care Community Transport Team.
For all her good works, Merilyn has been awarded the title of 2018 Clarence Electorate Woman of the Year.
Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis said Merilyn's years as a keen volunteer started about a decade ago when her husband Dude was in a terrible truck crash, but survived thanks to great care.
"The pair decided to give back to the community, and give back they have done in spades," he said.
"They have raised around $150,000 for organisations like Westpac Rescue Helicopter, the fine folk at Casino Rescue Squad and the SES.
"Whether it is local fundraising, applying for grants or recruiting new volunteers, Merilyn is the person to turn to."
The Westpac Rescue Helicopter is a cause dear to her heart, after four members of her own family were transported by the air service for treatment at different times.
"It's hard work keeping it in the air," she said, from a fundraising point of view.
Merilyn was so proud when she was nominated for the Clarence award.
"When it was announced that I won, I was beside myself," she said.
"Out of the nine organisations that we volunteer for, there were representatives from seven there."
Merilyn suffers from rheumatoid arthritis and has been retired for a couple of years.
She's keen to encourage other people to help the community.
"Please do volunteer. It's very rewarding and very much needed," she said.
"If someone could volunteer a morning a week, it makes such a big difference, or an hour or two once a week."
Asked what she gets out of donating time and effort: "The satisfaction that we're helping somebody," she said.
As part of her Clarence award, Merilyn and her husband were invited to attend the NSW Women of the Year statewide awards event at the International Convention Centre in Sydney on March 8.