The Rotary Club of Port Macquarie West bestowed their highest honour on Paula Johnson, the life blood of Rotary Lodge at a ceremony on June 5.
Ms Johnson was presented with a Paul Harris Fellow for her remarkable work at Rotary Lodge.
The honour was “in appreciation of tangible and significant assistance given for the furtherance of better understanding and friendly relations among peoples of the world.”
Ms Johnson said the award was very unexpected and said she was astonished when she received the award.
“I was absolutely stunned when my name was called as the recipient of a Paul Harris Fellow,” Ms Johnson said.
“I had no idea it was coming but I am very honoured to receive it.”
She said that while she loves her work, she certainly does not do it for the public acknowledgement.
“We have people coming to use the lodge everyday and the stories our clients tell are remarkable,” she said.
“I love the work I get to do everyday.
“I love talking to people but it never crossed my mind that I would win something like this from it.”
The recognition was given at the Rotary Club of Port Macquarie West changeover dinner and was one of the final acts for Tony Lanzafame as club president.
“It was a very special moment for me to be able to give Paula a Paul Harris Fellow and absolutely justified given her total dedication to the Lodge and everyone who visits,” Mr Lanzafame said.
“As a club, to give a Paul Harris means you are very publicly and financially recognising the recipient and saying they represent one or all of the five avenues of service; community, international, club, vocational and youth.
“Paula through her work with Rotary Lodge more than ticks all the boxes and it was great that we could recognise all she does for the community.”
For a non-Rotarian to receive a Paul Harris is also a very rare achievement.
Rotary Lodge is managed by the Port Macquarie Hospital Lodge Association Inc, an independent body with formally appointed representatives from each of the five local Rotary Clubs, and board member Phil Perry said the achievement was well deserved.
“Paula makes such a mark on the people who come and use the Lodge,” Mr Perry said.
“She is completely dedicated to our clients, sourcing all kinds of help for people when they need it most.
“Within the Rotary community, a Paul Harris Fellow is a remarkable and rare achievement and to be give that same recognition to a non-Rotarian is something else.
“When she was presented with the Fellow, the entire room gasped as it is so rare, but in Paula’s case, much deserved and appropriate.”
He said Ms Johnson’s dedication to the Lodge and the people who come and stay is phenomenal.
”She has no hesitation when someone asks for help, when the phone to the lodge rings she responds instantly – at any time of the day or night,” he said.
“She is an incredible asset to the Lodge and to the community.”