Community dedication earns an OAM for Nina
YEARS of dedication to the Bundaberg community have earnt well-known former Bundaberg High School teacher Nina Higgins an Order of Australia Medal in this year's Australia Day Honours.
Mrs Higgins said she was "gobsmacked" to learn she had been selected to receive the prestigious award.
"I was absolutely stunned when I opened the mail," she said.
"I do the things I do because I love the Bundaberg community.
"You don't do it for the recognition, but it is nice to be recognised."
A former deputy principal of Bundy High, Mrs Higgins played a vital role in organising the school's centenary celebrations last year.
And despite being on the wrong side of 80, she continues to play an active role in the community, including her role as president of the Bundaberg University of the Third Age (U3A).
She was also the District Commissioner of the Bundaberg Scouts Branch from 1997-2004, co-ordinator of the Pageant of Lights Parade from 1998-2012, state netball team coach in 1975 and has organised Seniors' Week activities since 1998.
"I realised when I saw my mum decline after she stopped playing bowls how being active impacts your health," she said.
"It's so important to keep active - if you don't use it, you lose it. I tell everyone, 'you've got to get up, get dressed and get out'."
Mother to six sons, Mrs Higgins said people weren't supposed to be on their own and it was important to continue to socialise at any age.
"People are more important than things," she said.
"I'm very family orientated and I think that's important."
Unaware of who nominated her, Mr Higgins is hoping the person who did will come forward now the award has been announced.
"It would be nice to be able to say thank you," she said.
Mrs Higgins said she was looking forward to visiting Government House for the second time later this year to receive the medal.
"I visited Government House when I was presented with Scouting's highest award, the Silver Kangaroo," she said.