Worthy women are region's Hidden Treasures
JANE Harrison is "thrilled to bits" to be named a Hidden Treasure among nine women in the Clarence and Richmond Valleys.
She's also a little embarrassed about being acknowledged yet again after taking out the "woman of the year" prize some years ago.
Jane, who's just turned 89 and aims to "wind down" soon, is still a member of the Ellangowan Rural Fire Service Brigade she was secretary of for 23 years.
Her longtime support of the Country Women's Association also continues.
"The first club I joined was the CWA when we moved up from Sydney," she said.
"Of course, I was looking to make friends. I'm still in it after 30 years or more."
Jane was president of Civilian Widows for years and also joined the local Probus, View, Laurel and Quota clubs.
"In the Laurel Club, what money we do make goes to the Legacy funds - it's more or less support for each other," she said.
"Volunteering is very worthwhile because you're doing something useful and that's very good for other people. I really enjoy it.
"All the organisations, the numbers seem to be dropping because the younger ones are working and the older ones are going into homes."
Apart from Jane, 2017 Hidden Treasures are Susan Howland, Yamba; Patricia Hughes, Coraki; sisters Janice and Vanessa Kapeen, Coraki; Kerry O'Connor, Coraki; Judy Mussared, Minnie Water; Tania Peene, Maclean, and Joan Smedley, Evans Head.
Susan Howland worked as a community worker with Clarence Valley Council for 25 years. She is an advocate for improved mental health services.
Patricia Hughes is president of The United Hospitals Auxiliary of Coraki which now fundraises for the new Health One Facility, formerly the Campbell Hospital.
On a personal front, Patricia is the full-time carer for her 92-year-old mum.
Sisters Janice and Vanessa Kapeen, along with their mum Alvina and dad Russell Kapeen, have been leaders and advocates for the Aboriginal members of the Coraki and Box Ridge community.
Both ladies are active in the Land Council on the riverbank in Coraki.
Kerry O'Connor is president of The Coraki Rural Transaction Centre and volunteers at the St Joseph's Op-Shop every week
Judy Mussared joined the Minnie Water Bush Fire Brigade in 1988, and has served with diligence as secretary since 2000.
Tania Peene joined the Gulmarrad Rural Fire Service in 2011.
"Her empathy and compassion at incidents give her a real ability to help people in times of need," say her fellow members.
Joan Smedley has devoted 20 years of her life to community activities at Evans Head and the lower Richmond River district of Northern NSW.
She became a member of the Mid Richmond River Lions Club in 1997, when membership was first open to women. Since then she's filled most of the executive positions, most notably that of president for the last 10 years.
Hidden Treasures is an annual initiative of the NSW Government's Rural Women's Network which recognises the outstanding efforts of women volunteers and promotes the valuable role of volunteering.
Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis said the Hidden Treasures Honour Roll was all about recognising country women who didn't seek recognition, but who richly deserved it for the tireless contribution they made to their community.
For more information or to nominate someone, go to www.dpi.nsw.gov.au and search for Hidden Treasures.