OPA volunteers recognised in 2019 Australia Day honours
Two of OPA's long-standing volunteers have been recognised in the recent 2019 Australia Day honours.
James McCarthy - Medal in the General Division of the Order of Australia
James McCarthy, who has volunteered in all three of OPA's volunteer programs, received a Medal in the General Division of the Order of Australia for service to the community through social welfare organisations.
James' roles included volunteering as an Independent Third Person, attending police interviews for adults and young people with disability to ensure that they are not disadvantaged during the interview process (2008-2016); working as a Community Guardian, where he managed two complex cases simultaneously (2010-2014); and, also from 2010, as a Community Visitor, at times visiting facilities for people with disability in both the Eastern and Western metropolitan regions. He still volunteers in this program.
In 2013, James joined the 18-month ‘Supported Decision Making Pilot Project’ and assisted a young man with an intellectual disability to make life decisions.
James also served on OPA’s Volunteer Consultative Committee, providing a unique insight as the only OPA volunteer to work across all three of OPA’s volunteer programs. James’s contributions led to the development of new policies and procedures that provide greater clarity to OPA volunteers on their roles and responsibilities.
Morrie Hartman - Casey Senior Citizen of the Year
Morrie Hartman, who volunteers both as an Independent Third Person and Community Guardian, has been named Casey Senior Citizen of the Year.
Morrie has been volunteering with the Community Guardian Program for 25 years. In this role, Morrie is formally appointed by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Appeals Tribunal (VCAT) to act for vulnerable Victorians who are no longer able to make decisions for themselves. Many of the cases that Morrie has handled have been highly complex and all involve clients with cognitive disabilities.
Morrie has also been an ITP volunteer with OPA for 12 years. In this role, he attends local police stations and assists and supports a person with a cognitive disability when being formally interviewed by Victoria Police. Morrie regularly makes himself available for interviews at Endeavour Hills Police Station, seven days a week.
Morrie also volunteers with the City of Casey as a volunteer transport driver, a role he has done for the past five years. He takes people to medical appointments and/or to visit family in hospitals or nursing homes.