Paul Omodei

Paul Omodei


    Government acknowledges people who make a difference

    19/12/2000 11:35 AM

    A woman who has raised more than a quarter of a million dollars over 30 years of fundraising and a farming community that got behind the local family of a child with disabilities were among more than 40 people and organisations honoured at the inaugural “Making A Difference” awards at Parliament House today.

    The awards have been established by the Disability Services Commission to recognise the efforts of organisations and individuals to assist people with disabilities and were presented by Disability Services Minister Paul Omodei.

    Mr Omodei said the awards acknowledged those who had made a substantial contribution to the community through their selfless dedication to helping people with disabilities in Western Australia.

    “Everyone honoured here today is rewarded by the knowledge that they have made life brighter, more rewarding and more fulfilling for a fellow Western Australian,” he said.

    “They recognise that improving the quality of life of people with disabilities and their families is not just the responsibility of Government or disability organisations but of the community as a whole.

    “They have proved that one person can make a difference to the lives of others.”

    Among the many recipients were:
    • a volunteer fundraiser for the Cerebral Palsy Association of Western Australia, Mrs Joyce Venables of Bentley who has raised an estimated $280,000 over the past 30 years;
    • the Wagin community for coming together to support a local family by raising funds to buy specialised equipment for a little girl with cerebral palsy;
    • Mrs Jean Walker of Yandeyarra Community in the Pilbara, the primary carer of a son with epilepsy and her husband and three grandchildren with health problems, who has continued to work to support others in her community as Aboriginal Health Worker, a former ATSIC Regional Councillor and as a member of the Pilbara Development Commission;
    • Mrs Gene Griffiths of Narrogin, a founder of Numbat Industries (now part of Activ Industries) who, as well as raising her own family, has fostered 58 children, many with disabilities, and has worked to include the children in community activities such as the Girls Brigade;
    • known locally as a champion of people with disabilities, consultant Darrell Wills of Binningup has devoted more than 30 years to improving community participation for people with disabilities, particularly in education through countless projects including educative workshops and publications;
    • Woodside Petroleum Ltd provided staff from its Echo-Yodel project to help spruce up one of the Commission residences for people with disabilities, Sussex Hostel. Woodside staff painted pergolas, planted a garden, installed a water fountain and repaired the shade house;
    • STW Channel 9’s Appealathon for generating more than $45 million over the past 25 years for a range of organisations that support people with disabilities; and -
    • TeenSpirit, a parent-run group in Kenwick that provides teenagers with disabilities the chance to enjoy recreational activities and develop friendships.

    Mr Omodei said the “Making a Difference” awards also acknowledged next year’s International Year of Volunteers.

    Media contact: Hugh Ryan 9213 6700