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OAM honours for Solve OT, Liz Irwin

Solve volunteers are at the heart of our service.

This year, one particular volunteer was recognised for her incredible work and volunteer service with Solve Disability Solutions, and her wider community.

At this year’s Australia Day honours, Solve volunteer occupational therapist, Liz Irwin was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM).

Along with her professional experience working with Mildura Base Hospital and a remarkable 16 years with Vision Australia, Liz has been a volunteer therapist with Solve’s Sunraysia branch since 1993.

In addition to her extensive professional experience Liz has been an active member of the Mildura community dating back to the 70’s in such capacities as:

  • Co-Founder, SunAssist Volunteer Helpers (Sunraysia), 1980
  • Co-Founder, Special Needs Playgroup (Mildura), 1981
  • Co-Founder, Mildura Toy Library, 1982
  • Volunteer Project Coordinator / OT, Solve Disability Solutions (Sunraysia), 1993 – present
  • Founder, Macular Degeneration Self Help Group, 1995
  • Chairperson, Disability Access Advisory Committee, 2019 – present

It doesn’t stop there!

This year’s OAM isn’t the first accolade for Liz. In 2015, she was awarded Sunraysia’s Volunteer of the Year Award from MADEC, as well as Life Membership to SunAssist. In 2001, Liz received the Bicentennial Medal from the Governor of Victoria recognising her significant contribution to the Midura community. In 2018, Liz was also recognised by Solve Disability Solutions for and incredible 25 years of volunteer service, as was awarded the Ern & Les Rothschild Volunteer Award.

Always humble, Liz explains her call to volunteer was a natural desire to help people.

“As an occupational therapist I became even more aware of how even simple problem-solving could give people more independence and enjoyment in life. After I had my (3) kids (1980, 1983, 1985) I wanted to remain engaged with community and be useful.”

Mildura Independent MP, Ali Cupper recently sang Liz’s praises on social media following her Australia Day honours:

“Congratulations to Liz Irwin. This woman exemplifies civic responsibility and leadership. Since the establishment of Sunassist, it has grown in phenomenal ways, giving mobility, confidence and connectedness to hundreds of local citizens. Thanks Liz for your dedication and service #thisgirlcan”

Retired from paid work, Liz continues to engage with her community while leading an active outdoor life with husband, John and their two dogs Peppa and Piggy (pictured), and joyously juggling five (going on six) grandchildren.

Volunteering for Solve for over 26 years Liz says,

“Assisting people to do something they couldn’t do before is satisfying for all concerned – it’s a team effort – that’s why I keep doing it.”

Picture © Ben Gloss, Sunraysia Daily


To find out more about volunteer opportunities across Victoria, get in touch!

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