SHE’S no stranger to the microphone, but Olga Forner was uncharacteristically lost for words when she was named Griffith 2012 Citizen of the Year on Saturday.
With the humble grace common to all Pioneer Park’s Australia Day award winners, the Griffith Can Assist president was utterly shocked to receive the honour.
“I didn’t even prepare a speech because there were so many very worthy nominees standing there with me,” Mrs Forner said.
“I’m speechless, but I really want to thank our wonderful community because the work Griffith Can Assist does rely on the community so much.”
Picking a winner was a tough task for council’s Australia Day Committee, with 13 other dedicated community gems nominated.
Presenting the award, Australia Day ambassador Gretel Killeen congratulated the group, commenting “what a lovely, vibrant group of people you are”.
But nobody could begrudge Mrs Forner the title - after all, the hardworking charity volunteer has helped at least 1500 Griffith families in the 15 years she has dedicated to Can Assist.
“You just do things for the community without any thought of receiving awards,” Mrs Forner said.
“Your reward is helping ill people - seeing good news with people progressing well is reward enough.”
When she joined the charity, Can Assist was somewhat buried but under Mrs Forner’s 10 year reign as president, awareness has grown and the cancer aid organization has flourished.
“I realised how important this charity was in this community - there is such a need to help people in Griffith because there are so many medical facilities that are not here and so many families that are affected by cancer,” she said.
“There have been tough times but we have always survived and the proudest thing for me is that community has always been there to help.”