A South Peakhurst resident who has given more than 30 years' service to the volunteer Solace NSW Association, along with other activities, has been awarded the NSW Community Service Award.
Marie Cullen was presented with the Award by Oatley MP Mark Coure, at a special Solace luncheon held at the Miranda RSL on October 1.
The Solace organisation is Australia-wide and is made up of people who have not only lost a spouse or partner in death, but who have volunteered to assist others in dealing with their grief by way of friendship, formal meetings and outings.
By way of introduction, Patricia Wade, a member of the Miranda Branch of Solace, told how she saw an advertisement in a newspaper inviting applications for the Community Award and she believed there was no one more fitting to receive this Award than Marie Cullen so she sent an application to Mr Coure.
In making the presentation, Mr Coure, said after reading details of Mrs Cullen's service, he signed the application "in a heartbeat".
"I think we have all experienced, one way or another, grief," Mr Coure said.
"It is wonderful to have a helping hand, someone to pick up the 'phone, not so much right after the death but particularly in the period four to five weeks after.
"It can be very lonely when the 'phone calls stop and the visits stop. You are doing such a wonderful job in Solace.
"Thank you for everything you have provided over many, many years."
Mrs Cullen said she "did not have a clue" about the Award but did begin to wonder about the large roll-up of members for the luncheon.
"For what I have done I have had help from each and everyone of you," Mrs Cullen said.
"I made Solace a big part of my life. I not only felt so many people were needy, but I, myself was needy.
"The whole point of staying in Solace was it helped my own personal grief journey, as well as trying to help others.
"None of us can stand still.
"We feel like the end of the world but honestly, while ever you put one-foot forward, take one day at a time, you will be doing very, very well."