Tracey the heart of the community

Tracey the heart of the community

With Tracey Barnett unable to attend the Australia Day breakfast in Orbost recently, where she was announced as Orbost’s citizen of the year for 2019, a special presentation was made to her last week, when she accepted her award with grace.

President of Orbost Rotary Club, which hosted the town’s Australia Day event, Meryn Pease, presented Tracey with her award at the club’s meeting last Thursday night.

“The criteria for the award included being over 27 years of age, significant contribution to our community, outstanding leadership skills/role modelling and excel in the area of arts and culture,” Meryn said.

“Clearly Tracey ticked all the boxes.”

The list of community contributions by Tracey is extensive, Meryn listing just some of them in the presentation of her award.

“Tracey has established and expanded the Snowy Flamingo’s Cancer Support Group for local women, which includes a monthly morning tea get-together.

“The Snowy Flamingo’s High Tea community event raised significant funds to enhance the palliative care room at Orbost Regional Health. She also established the annual pamper day for women affected by cancer.”

Tracey is an active SES member and an accomplished artist in watercolours and acrylic, with oils another medium now mastered.

“And not to stop there, Tracey also organises the Christmas decorations on display up and down Nicholson Street for all of Orbost to enjoy and coordinates the decoration of the Orbost Christmas Tree each year, including connecting with local organisations, schools and businesses to aid with the decorations,” Meryn said.

“If that is not enough to do, she also volunteers her expertise in resumé writing for people seeking employment opportunities.

“As you can see, Tracey is a worthy recipient of the 2019 Orbost Citizen of the Year Award.”

Tracey was humble in accepting her award.

“It is a real honour to receive this award,” she said, though she says she would not have been able to achieve half of what she has without the support of the community.

“I feel very privileged to have been thought of for this award.

“It’s a very special award to receive. But when you work in and for the community you don’t do it to receive awards. I just want to help the community.”

Tracey has lived in Orbost for about 30 years and it’s a community she says she loves.

“Orbost is a very special place,” she said.

“And the people are special. It’s an honour to work in this community. I’ve always worked in the community in some form. I was at the neighbourhood house in the 1990s and I’ve always looked at simple ways to support people and establish fellowship.

“It doesn’t cost anything to give a smile.”

The Snowy Flamingo Cancer Support Group is one that’s dear to Tracey’s heart.

“I saw a real need for something in remote areas where support services for those with cancer is very limited,” she said.

“Once we started, we discovered in the community many women in need of support through their cancer. In a community of around 2000 we have 50 ladies with various forms of cancer on our books.

“But there’s also a real need for other cancer support for men with cancer and those who care for people with cancer.

“The Flamingo Fling was a big event, but it wouldn’t have happened without the support of volunteers, service groups and the many donations of prizes received.

“The Christmas tree and the street decorations are also a big community event, which, without contributions by community members, with time, cherry pickers and so on, couldn’t happen.”

Regardless of the support Tracey has received in her community efforts, Merryn sums Tracey’s contributions up well when she says, “Tracey really is the heart of Orbost”.

PICTURED: Orbost’s citizen of the year for 2019, Tracey Barnett (right) with her husband, Jim, who accepted her award for her on Australia Day.