ONE of Wagga’s hardest working community campaigners has been awarded with one of the Rotary movement’s most prestigious honours.
Jan Roberts, the founder of the Wagga Women’s Health Centre, was named as a Paul Harris Fellow at a special lunch meeting of the Wollundry Rotary Club on Tuesday.
The Paul Harris Fellow program honours the founder of Rotary International and previous recipients, which total more than one million people worldwide, have included eminent figures such as former US president Jimmy Carter and former Russian head of state Boris Yeltsin.
Mrs Roberts said the award had come as a “complete surprise”.
“I haven’t been associated with Rotary very closely but I have heard of Paul Harris, because my father-in-law was a Rotarian,” Mrs Roberts said.
“I had really no idea what the process was other than I thought it was an internal Rotary thing. I was very surprised and very honoured.”
Wollundry Rotary president Geoff Hamilton, who announced Ms Roberts as Rotary’s latest Paul Harris Fellow on Tuesday, highlighted her many achievements, including her instrumental role in lobbying for the establishment of a range of women’s health services in Wagga, including Sisters Housing Enterprises and family planning and sexual assault counselling services.
Rotary district governor Gary Roberts spoke at the lunch about peace. Mrs Roberts said his talk shone a light on how the work of the women’s rights movement had related to promoting peace in the community for her.
“I see the work the women’s movement have been doing over many years is about bringing peace and change to things in our community that were kept under wraps and people didn’t talk about,” she said.
“We’ve shone a light onto a lot of that and I think over the years, because we’ve been consistent in our message and haven’t capitulated, many other people see that’s been a valid point of view.”
The Paul Harris Fellow program was founded by Rotary in 1957. Individual Rotary clubs who donate US$1000 to the Rotary Foundation can apply for new fellows to be recognised.
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