A stalwart of nursing in the Wakatipu was recognised with a special award earlier this week.
In a surprise ceremony at the Lake Wakatipu Home and Hospital where she works, Judy Stewart, 84, was presented with a Mayoral Citation by Queenstown Lakes Mayor Vanessa van Uden.
Stewart gasped when Van Uden announced her name before a crowd that included her son Grant as well as residents and staff at the elderly-care facility>
Van Uden says the citations recognise the community’s quiet achievers, and Stewart exemplifies that by ”quietly getting on contributing to this community without any fuss”.
She told Stewart she has given a lifetime of service to the community, particularly its elderly people.
”You are a special treasure and we’re lucky to have you living here.”
Stewart told the Otago Daily Times she had no inkling she would be the subject of the gathering, and had thought Prime Minister John Key was making a visit.
After moving to Queenstown in 1964 with her late husband Ron, she began a 41-year career as a nurse, the first 27 as a registered nurse at the adjacent Lakes District Hospital.
After finally retiring from the hospital on her third attempt, she was asked to help out at the Lake Wakatipu Home and Hospital, she says.
After 14 years working there, as a nurse and then as a caregiver, she thought she had retired for good 12 months ago. But she was back on the job three weeks later, and has been working as a caregiver three to five days a week ever since.