Ellen Paulin works harder than many people a third of her age.
In 2015 she worked in the Adelaide Hills for ten weeks after bushfires devastated the area, before spending time in Hughenden assisting farmers struggling with drought conditions, and then Murgon, after a mini-cyclone hit on Boxing Day.
Driven and selfless, Ellen is a shining example of someone determined to help others.
“In Murgon I was rebuilding fences and stacking the wood after the trees had been sawn up by the men with chainsaws,” she said.
“It can be quite physical, especially in the hot weather, but I love it.”
Ellen grew up in Tasmania and spent years working on the land, breeding cattle with her husband on the New South Wales South Coast, as well as working as a nurse.
She draws on many of these experiences in her work for BlazeAid, where her work is often as emotional as it is physical.
“I’m aware of the ‘black dog’ and depression that can come from this type of disaster,” she said.
“A large part of it is just listening to what people have to say.
“It doesn’t matter if you don’t do any work for two hours, as long you listen and let people unburden themselves.”
Ellen was also involved with the VIEW Clubs of Australia, a leading women’s national volunteer organisation, and recently wrapped up a two-year spell working in her son’s coffee shop.
She joined the community at Drayton Villas a year ago and has no plans to put her feet up just yet.
“There’s so much to do and I don’t have enough time to do everything I want to,” she said.
“My son says he has to make an appointment to see his mother!”
For more information about Drayton Villas, click here.