Selfless community leader awarded Public Service Medal
FROM the time Norman Wotherspoon's children were only young he has given them one important piece of advice - always try to make a difference in the world you are in.
Mr Wotherspoon has practised what he has preached by committing his life to not only serving the public but making a difference in the world he lives in, and this commitment has earned him one of the highest honours in the country.
The selfless server has been named on the Queen's Birthday Honours List and was awarded the Public Service Medal for his work in the community.
Mr Wotherspoon's wife found out about the honours before he did, but the recipient said he could have fallen off his chair from amazement.
But he insists his work is never about the recognition, or accolades.
"You don't do what I do for the sake of the honour, but it's actually an honour to make a difference for the community," he said.
Mr Wotherspoon has served in Dalby for the last 19 years, and describes himself as someone who always wants to try and "fix things".
It was this that drew him to the world of public service.
The Centrelink Dalby Service Centre Manager works in Centrelink and Medicare services across the Western Downs, and also works closely with the Myall Youth and Community Network Centre.
At the heart of his role in Centrelink and Medicare services, Mr Wotherspoon wants to make customers feel heard and supported in times of need.
"I've been trying to make government services, in particular Commonwealth government services, and the ones that we deliver in Centrelink and Medicare easier for our community and taking away the anxiety of walking into an office," he said.
"When you leave my office I like people to think as though we've done everything we can possibly do and they can reach the resolution.
"Depending on their circumstances they may not be happy with the outcome, but they know they've got an outcome."
With the MYCNC, Mr Wotherspoon advocates for services for the homeless and population of the Western Downs.
But that in itself presents its own challenges. Mr Wotherspoon and the team at MYCNC know first-hand that the regional towns often miss out on crucial funding and services for the disadvantaged members of the community, but that is something they're trying desperately to change.
"We have what we have but it pales in comparison to the city," he said.
"We don't have a men's shelter.
"Even for homeless women, the options are limited.
"It's one of the key things the community centre are trying to bridge some of those social services.
"It is a real struggle not having those support services for the community."
The desire to service his community has always been embedded in Mr Wotherspoon from his upbringing into adulthood.
It's all about making a difference, and Mr Wotherspoon has been successful in doing exactly that.
"As I have tried to instil in my children, when you go forth in the world you try and make a difference in the world that you're in," he said.
"When I did join the public services first of all for a bit of security with my family, I thought 'if I'm going to be part of the public service, I should try and make a difference in the world I'm in'.
"I try to do my best to help people through hoops, not create them."