Immediate past President of ACT Neighbourhood Watch Mrs Ursula Macdermott was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the General Division in the honours list released on Australia Day 2012.
Mrs Macdermott or ‘Urs’ as she is affectionately known by Neighbourhood Watch Australasia colleagues, has played a significant role in a number of community service programmes over many decades but she was awarded the OAM specifically and I quote; “For service to the community through the ACT Neighbourhood Watch Association” and for this recognition we should all be very proud and extremely excited.
Mrs Macdermott began as area coordinator for her suburb of Lyons ACT nearly 28 years ago and continues in that role which has included the functions of newsletter editor and treasurer. She was Woden District Delegate for 18 years, a member of the Board of Management for 20 years including 3 years as Deputy President and 6 years as President from 2003 to August 2009.
Ursula was a part of the hosting team for the first formal meeting of a national expression of NHW in Australia. It was called a Board then, the year was 1996 and the meeting was held in Canberra. She has represented the ACT as a Delegate at 8 of these meetings and when Neighbourhood Watch Australasia was incorporated in 2006 she offered her services as Treasurer for the first 2 years and since 2008 as Public Officer.
In the year of her handing over the Presidency to Mrs Margaret Pearson, Ursula was asked to be one of the speakers at the 25th Anniversary dinner at which she was awarded a Certificate of Excellence. A fitting tribute considering that one of her key contributions had been to take personal responsibility for the instigation of an annual and special awards presentation process which she commenced 2005.
Perhaps it would be appropriate for me to conclude this article with the words I wrote on Ursula’s Certificate for the award presented to her in 2009.
“In recognition of years of dedicated voluntary service to Neighbourhood Watch locally and nationally. A selfless commitment characterized by determination,
hard work and outrageous generosity, all motivated by a desire to create safer communities. The leadership you have offered and the impact you have made is something we will continue to aspire towards. Thank you for paying the price and standing up for Safety, Security and Well Being.”
So, on behalf of all NHW members and volunteers, congratulations Ursula!
By Graeme Hush