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A quick glance through Edna Pennicott’s long list of volunteering commitments, and it’s not hard to see why she was the inaugural winner of the Aurora Energy Lifetime Achievement Award.
The Kingston local received the accolade at an official ceremony at Government House on Monday for the 2019 Tasmanian Volunteering Awards.
Edna has been volunteering for more than 40 years, and in 2013 founded Kingborough Helping Hands to assist people experiencing financial hardship by providing them food, vouchers and household essentials.
The organisation also operates the Kingston service of Loui’s Van, collects gifts for hundreds of families at Christmas through the Kingborough Giving Tree and supports Jireh House and the Annie Kenney Young Women’s Refuge.
Despite her impressive resume, the award came as a surprise to Edna.
“It was a big shock, especially when you look at the other nominees. I don’t look at myself and think I do what they do,” Edna said.
“There’s a massive amount of people who help me get the work done so they deserve this too. There’s no ‘I’ in team.”
Through her four decades of volunteering, Edna raised her own two children as a single parent, five foster children and provided occasional care to many other foster kids.
But she attributes her own childhood experiences as the reason why she spends countless hours a week giving back to the community.
“In my early years I went through a few hard times and I just wish someone had reached out,” Edna said.
“Although you can always make a positive out of a negative and that’s what I did.”
Aurora Energy CEO Rebecca Kardos congratulated Edna and all other finalists.
“I am in awe and inspired by their enduring commitment to volunteering in Tasmania. Their stories showcase what I love most about this place – we work and live in a community that cares,” Mrs Kardos said.
“Each nominee has on average been volunteering in their community for 40-plus years making an enormous difference in the community, something that each of us should aspire to.”
Other finalists for the award were Beverley Allan (Meals on Wheels Longford), Christine Knight (Calvary Health Care Tasmania), Douglas Renshaw (Bicheno RSL Sub-Branch), Rhonda Foster (Bagdad Community Club) and Kaye Fox (Ambulance Tasmania).