Once they realised it wasn’t a scam, Bega Valley residents Barbara and David Rugendyke were thrilled to discover they’d been awarded Medals of The Order of Australia.
The Cobargo couple were awarded for their countless years of foster care work, with the pair caring for over 400 children as well as David’s work as a volunteer in the region.
“I thought, this a scam, just ignore it, then I read a bit further and saw The Governor Generals seal and thought maybe it’s not a scam,” Mrs Rugendyke said.
“We were wrapped though,” she explained.
“The happiness I get from the children is my motivation to continue with my work as a foster carer.”
Meanwhile a little further north, Aboriginal Elder and teacher, Patricia Anne Ellis has also been honoured with an OAM, for her work in the Eurobodalla community, preserving indigenous language on the South Coast.
The Brinja-Yuin Elder said she had worked at most of the schools from Nowra to Bega as well as having a long and distinguished career with TAFE NSW.
“I can think of so many people who deserve it but I am blown away that someone thought my work deserved it,” Ms Anne Ellis said.
Ms Ellis is a previous recipient of NAIDOC awards including Eurobodalla Council’s Elder of the Year in 2019 and Council’s NAIDOC Award for Outstanding Service to Community, in 2008 and 2017.
Images: Governor General’s Office, David Rugendyke