CQ grandmother honoured for her love of helping others
HIGHLY motivated and extremely generous - those are the words that have been used to describe 2020 Livingstone Shire Australia Day Awards nominee Carol Gorton.
Mrs Gorton, a resident of Yeppoon for the past 20 years and a Central Queensland local for the past 50, was "honoured" when she found out she had been nominated for the Living Legend Award.
"I'm really blown away and humbled because there are a lot of people out there who are doing wonderful work in our community," she said.
"To be nominated alongside them is a bit mind-blowing."
Mrs Gorton has always had a passion for helping others - a trait passed down from her community focused parents.
She first joined the Rotary Club of Capricorn Coast Inc 15 years ago and has gone on to regularly help members of the community in thoughtful ways. She is now president of the club, which last month helped buy little Izaac Rallings a wheelchair-accessible car.
"I love the Rotary and the commraderie. The friendships are just amazing," she said.
"It's really rewarding. There are a lot of things we've done like giving money to try and get a vaccine for malaria.
"We're also developing the Mulumbin Caravan Park, which will end up as a recreational precinct.
"There are always exciting things happening."
Mrs Gorton has also been a Legacy volunteer for the past two years - providing connections and socialisation to widows around the coast.
The club lost its strength some years ago, but has since enjoyed a resurgence, with her help.
"We have 89 widows down here in Yeppoon and the Emu Park area," she said.
"Some of them have no family so we concentrate a little more on them and visit more regularly. It's very easy and it's very rewarding."
On top of regular phone calls and visits, Legacy holds a club meeting every month, inviting the widows to come and socialise with others.
"If we think the widows need more help or need railings or something, we pass it on to the community service officer and they go from there," she said.
"Some widows are at home alone, just sitting in their rooms by themselves.
"There are many with no family. They love our calls.
"There are a lot of them who are looked after by Home Care and places like that, but we also follow up, keep in contact and make sure things are going well."
Before retiring, Mrs Gorton worked as a service manager at the Capricornia Training Company and before that as an executive officer for the area consultative committee.
It was while working that she encountered a man who couldn't read and didn't know where to go to learn.
She studied a tutoring course and went on to work for Livingstone Shire Council as a literacy tutor at the Communtiy Centre.
"I work mainly with people with English as a second language, like migrants," she said.
"It's very rewarding. Some people don't understand or they've been in the dark so long and feel embarrassed."
Mrs Gorton once helped a woman in her 50s who wanted to learn to read a story to her first grandchild.
While at Mrs Gorton's home one day while she cooked, the woman remarked that she had never cooked because she didn't know how to read the recipe books.
Sitting down with the woman, she taught her measurements and fractions and how to read them.
"The penny dropped," Mrs Gorton said.
LIFE ACROSS CQ
In 1965, Mrs Gorton married her sweetheart, Murray, in Cairns and then moved to the Snowy Mountains for a few years before heading to Gladstone for 27 years.
Mr Gorton's work as an electrical engineer meant they moved around through CQ a lot. They lived in Rockhampton from 1989-1996 before moving to the coast, where they are now both enjoying retirement.
Mrs Gorton had two sons and one daughter, and now has 11 grandchildren.
Her daughter, Natalie, passed away three years ago from a brain tumour.