The Bendigo Advertiser is at its best when it recounts the personal stories of the residents of Bendigo including winners of various awards. During this last week we have once again been inspired by extraordinary individual contributions in the community.
Firstly to the Zonta International Women’s Day annual dinner where a number of women were recognised during the evening.
We were introduced to three remarkable older women who have volunteered in the areas of art, health or sport for many years in Bendigo. The inaugural Zonta Women of Achievement prize was awarded to three women who were acknowledged to have contributed tirelessly to their communities. Indigenous artist Gayle Maddigan was recognised for her commitment to social justice, nurse educator Karen Riley for her work in community health and swimming coach Val Campbell has been a coach at Bendigo East Swimming Club for more than 40 years.
Zonta also introduced a new scholarship for pioneering young women in science, technology, engineering and maths, naming the scholarship in honour of Ann Horrocks, their former club governor, who was herself a scientist. Bree Mellberg was the recipient of this award, and already has plans to go forward with a PhD in her area of biological sciences. Gabriela Giggins is this year’s Young Women in Public Affairs winner, a leader at Bendigo Senior Secondary College in extra-curricular activities at the college and beyond.
Kraig Krieger is a single dad intent on showing his two sons by example they are in control of the opportunities they have in life. His is an inspirational journey, a man who showed a passion for changing his life, balancing studies at La Trobe University with part-time work while caring for his two young sons. As Mr. Krieger said “it was resilience born of hardship”.
A $3000 scholarship from Haven; Home, Safe and Community Sector Banking is certainly going to help this family, to see this aspirational dad through the remainder of his studies and his sons on their way to a more secure future.
Bradley Allan has been awarded the Rudkins Blue Ribbon Memorial Scholarship of $2500 which will help pay for significant costs of study as Mr Allan furthers his nursing degree with post-graduate studies in critical care and emergency department nursing at La Trobe University.
Mr. Allan only commenced his nursing career at 28 years of age. He sees many rewards in his new career and Bendigo is the richer for families who have made sacrifices in their lives in order to not only further their own career but choose a career based on helping others in the community.
Bendigo Bank employee Gayle Freemantle has been the driving force behind a project called The Million Stars to End Violence Against Women which involves weaving ribbons into colourful little stars, eventually part of a much larger display.
Bendigo Bank employees alone have made 3000 of these stars, Bendigo Police Sergeant Margaret Singe 1000 stars, and altogether Bendigo has already achieved a total of 10,000. The ultimate goal is a display of one million stars at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in 2018.
The world is shrinking every day. Our Bendigo community has demonstrated yet again that it is part of a worldwide movement to change things for the better. There are many such stories. This is a caring community by any standard you could measure.