Sawtell stalwart: Gwen Herdegen was named Sawtellian of the Year on Saturday.
Sawtell stalwart: Gwen Herdegen was named Sawtellian of the Year on Saturday. Leigh Jensen

Gwen named Sawtellian of the Year

A REMARKABLE woman who has dedicated her life to serving others is the Sawtellian of the Year.

Gwen Herdegen, 90, has worked tirelessly for the Sawtell RSL Sub-Branch Women’s Auxiliary for some 60 years and is a well-known and highly regarded member of the community.

She admits she was taken aback when she was named Sawtellian of the Year on Saturday.

“It was a big shock to me,” she said.

“This honour means quite a bit to me because I have lived in Sawtell going on 62 years.

“This is a community I have worked for and I love working for and I just want to keep it going.”

Mrs Herdegen was inspired to join the women’s auxiliary when she met a young soldier at Sydney’s Concord Hospital, where her husband Cec was undergoing treatment for his war injuries.

The young soldier had lost his legs and arms and he impressed Mrs Herdegen so much with his happy-go-lucky nature she vowed she would work for her local sub-branch auxiliary to help wounded soldiers.

On February 2, 1951, she joined and she has worked tirelessly ever since. She was awarded life membership of the auxiliary in 1980 and in 2001 she was given special recognition by the State sub-branches of NSW.

Over the years she has been involved, and is still involved, with selling Anzac and Legacy badges, Anzac Day luncheons, raffles, street stalls as well as welfare meetings and conferences.

Her nomination for the Sawtellian of the Year described Mrs Herdegen as a ‘truly amazing Australian but better still she is a member of our Sawtell community/family who has given so much of herself and deserves this recognition’.



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