COMMUNITY stalwart Shirley Smith is an outstanding woman.
Now she has a trophy to prove it after winning the Lifetime Achievement award at the NSW Women of the Year Awards last Thursday.
Shirley was honoured for her service to the Casino and Northern Rivers community after she created a transport community program to help people access medical treatment.
Over the course of 19 years, more than 2600 people have been helped with more than 85,700 one-way trips.
Shirley said she "went to pieces" when her name was called out at the ceremony last Thursday.
" I was just so shocked because I did not, in my wildest dreams, expect to be a winner!
"The motivation is noticing the need within the community and trying to respond to it, then working with others to do it.
"I think my main achievement would have been in starting this transport team for the community in Casino and then getting it going, and it actually working properly and doing what it was supposed to do."
Shirley said the award was a thank you to the community that supported her.
UnitingCare Casino Transport Team co-ordinator Jodi Morriss nominated Shirley.
She said without Shirley's hard work in creating the service, people in the community would die.
"We have six dialysis clients we transport and there are no government services for them. Same with cancer transport.
"Without this service, people would die.
Describing her as "amazing but very modest", Jodi explained Shirley kept the service going for 19 years by running fundraising activities like bake sales and movie nights.
"I took over as co-ordinator from her in October, and I really have big shoes to fill!
"She really deserves the award and the whole community will be over the moon."
Shirley was one of seven women to receive the awards ahead of last Friday's International Women's Day.
She said changes in the attitudes towards women had been "absolutely massive".
"When i first started work, back in the 50s, the workload for a female was very minimal and they were sending us to TAFE to learn to type, and that was the limit basically," Shirley said.
"It's gradually grown that women are actually the bosses of the section."