OAMs For Inspiring Community Work
BY JEM ANSHAW
On Australia Day 2024 there were 503 people awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM), and two of them were amazing Muswellbrook women.
De-anne Douglas and Kylie Facer are names we know and love, but now they have been recognised nationally for their passion and commitment to causes in our community and beyond.
“I think I cried for a whole day, I just feel that I’m so lucky that I get to do the community work that I do because this community is such an amazing community and everyone comes together to support us,” De-anne shared when asked how it felt to receive the honour.
De-anne was nominated by NSW PCYC after her 15 years as manager at Muswellbrook PCYC came to an end, but in the years since then she continues to volunteer at Singleton PCYC as well as other organisations.
Along with a committed team of fellow volunteers, each month De-anne runs the Interacts discos for people with disabilities, with the New Beginnings program she collects and delivers furniture and homewares to families moving into new homes after coming out of domestic violence or homelessness, and she helps out at Scone Neighbourhood Resource Centre by running the traffic offender course at no cost so more money can go back into the community.
There is also the Upper Hunter Food and Toy appeal that De-anne has been coordinating for 23 years, all this on top of her job as CEO at the Wanaruah Local Aboriginal Lands Council, being a Muswellbrook Shire councillor, and spending time with her three children, Skye, Harley and Stephen, and their families.
“People often say to me ‘why do you do so much volunteer work, it must take up a lot of your time’, well some people play sport, some people go to the gym, I do community work. I do charity work. That’s my passion. From the time I was young and had to rely so much on community to support our family I always said when I could give back, I was going to,” De-anne told The Hunter River Times.
De-anne had always known she would spend her time helping others, but Kylie was thrown into the situation that earned her OAM when she and husband Kris learned their daughter Anika had suffered a stroke in-utero.
“We started Little Stroke Warriors because we had a purpose, which was to provide support to fill a gap in medical care that didn’t exist for kids that had suffered a stroke,” Kylie shared.
“And that all just snow balled into an amazing support group, into the provision of resources, into research funding, into a whole raft of things, and before you know it there’s other advocacy roles that we’re doing and there’s programs that we’re implementing locally and just a whole range of things.”