Story telling from Australia
Josephine Peter is the kind of woman you might pass in the supermarket or spot at the post office. You might smile at her, nod and walk past, that’s if you notice her at all. With her snow-white hair Josephine is not likely to attract much attention from photographers or journalists. Don’t expect to see her featured in a glossy magazine any time soon.
And yet Josephine Peter is a remarkable woman.
She was recently named Local Hero of the Year for New South Wales, and this summary from the Australian of the Year website explains why:
Seven decades of volunteer work began in 1940, when seven-year-old Josephine Peter knitted her first pair of socks for Australia’s troops. Over the course of World War II, Josephine made 450 pairs of socks, starting a lifetime of dedication to others. Since then, she’s been a stalwart on parents’ committees and arts societies.
She’s handed out how to vote cards at elections for 54 years. She sat on the board of Broken Hill’s Robinson College for 25 years, with seven years as president, she was a volunteer tutor for more than a decade and for the past 33 years she has been a Broken Hill tour guide. Josephine’s listened to people’s problems as a telephone counselor, coordinated 22 debutante balls for Rotary and has supported the VIEW Club and Smith Family for 27 years, including 3 years as zone councilor and 3 year as national councilor.
Josephine is involved with the women’s Flying Doctor Auxiliary and has been in the Silver City Probus club for 24 years on committee and served three terms as president. She’s driven thousands of kilometers in car rallies to raise funds for kidney health and to build a children’s cemetery in her hometown. At 83 years of age, Josephine’s volunteer efforts have not diminished, and her influence on the community of Broken Hill is unmatched.
Josephine has dedicated her life to helping others, and there are many, many people who do the same. They’re in your community and in your neighbourhood, and you probably won’t hear about them because they’re quiet achievers who like to keep a low profile. Having met Josephine when I lived in Broken Hill I’m pretty sure she would rather have avoided all the fuss that went with this award.
It’s easy to overlook the fact that real change requires action. Yes, we can and should raise our voices against injustice, click to sign a petition or swipe to join a campaign, but in all the chatter on social media let’s not forget that people like Josephine are quietly doing something positive to change our lives for the better.
And we are all richer for it.