Jane Gibbs - Woman of the Year 2020
Helen Dalton MP has chosen Yenda’s Jane Gibbs as her 2020 woman of the year, recognising her lifetime achievement of fostering more than 100 children with her husband Jaime.
All NSW state MPs chose one woman as their “local woman of the year 2020”, to recognise their outstanding contribution to their local community as businesswomen, role models, volunteers, leaders and mentors.
“It was a very tough decision, as so many women across the Murray electorate have contributed so much,” Mrs Dalton said
“Mrs Gibbs has made an outstanding contribution to helping the most vulnerable members of our community in both her work and personal life over the past 20 years.
“She adopted one of her foster children, Damien Lee Fletcher Gibbs. The adoption process took eight years. In a wonderfully unique example of a successful open adoption, Jane has taken all steps to ensure Damien's birth mother Dianne Fletcher is involved in all aspects of Damien's life.”
“Jane also worked as a teacher's aide for 12 years at Yoogali Public School, supporting children with a disability. Jane has also worked as a caseworker for Foster Care provider Care South, and currently works as an NDIS area coordinator for disability provider Intereach.”
“It's fair to say Jane has dedicated her life to community service.”
Mrs Gibbs said, “I feel so privileged to be recognised in this way”
“But it’s not just me, my husband Jamie has been there through it all”.
Mrs Dalton jokingly asked Ms Gibbs to name all her 100 foster children.
“There are some that really stick out in the memory,” Ms Gibbs said
“ There are those we’ve had for a night, a few days, or a week, and one we had for years”.
“And they’ve got me forever,” adopted son Damien chimed in to say, with a big grin on his face.
Mrs Dalton also presented awards to Griffith residents she had recognised in parliament during the course of the year in a small presentation ceremony at her office just before Christmas.
Sione Nosa, Litia Kosi, Babs Donaldson, Olga Forner and Tony Pastro were presented with awards to recognise their long-term service to the Griffith community. All have been acknowledged by Mrs Dalton in the NSW Parliament Hansard.
Mrs Dalton also presented a separate certificate to Wilma Cunningham, who the NSW Government chose as a “hidden treasure” for her 25 years in serving the Rural Fire Service. Ms Cunningham is now included in the 2019 Hidden Treasure Honour Roll.