A LIFE time of community work and a record of strong leadership has seen Murray Bridge Rotarian Wendy Gaborit awarded with the Order of Australia Medal (OAM).
Wendy moved to the Murraylands 30 years ago, first living in Rockleigh, and despite contributing in many volunteering roles from her introduction to the region, she was working in a senior position in Adelaide for Housing SA.
Wendy said she made a decision to to base herself in Murray Bridge professionally to help her "connect and give back to the community" better and thus her Rotary journey began.
"As much as I had been a member of the Regional Development Board, I was a councillor in the Mid Murray, had been on the boards of Community Lifestyles and other agencies, I still wanted to connect with community better," she said.
Wendy joined the Rotary Club of Mobilong in 2005 and within a year she was the president.
Rotary was quick to recognise her talents and skills and she was selected as the District Governor for 2012-2013.
She soon became Rotary national public image coordinator, for a three year term which saw her travel across Australia meeting clubs and Rotarians and now she works on developing leaders.
"I'm now the learning and development coordinator, so I facilitate leadership training seminars preparing our Rotarians for future leadership roles," she said.
"Leaders inspire, motivate and facilitate making things happen ... they provide an environment in which people can grow and succeed," she said.
"It's about others growing their own skills and making others the best that they can be."
She said one of the recent key achievements of the combined efforts Rotary Clubs of Murray Bridge, Mobilong and Tailem Bend saw Foodbank set up in Murray Bridge to provide meals to struggling families.
Her leadership extends beyond her Rotary work and Wendy said she enjoyed her time as a Mid Murray councillor and she is the current chair of the Murraylands Retirement Village board.
In 2004, she stood for pre-selection for the Liberal Party in the seat of Hammond, but got narrowly pipped-at-the-post by her good friend Adrian Pederick.
Wendy - who studied social work at university - said the notion of giving back and being part of the community had always been with her and while the recognition was nice, it was never part of the motivation to be a volunteer.
"I never started to win an award and it won't stop we doing what I do, I'll continue to want to participate, give, encourage, motivate and be part of and organisation and community that wants to be better," she said.