Orange’s Mary Croaker was yesterday presented with the prestigious 2020 VERTO Service Star (Community Services) award.

Ms Croaker upstaged a quality field of nominations from 45 VERTO sites across NSW, the ACT and Victoria to claim the award, recognition for the hard work she has put into improving outcomes for local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander school students and the Central West community over the past 12 months.

Ms Croaker was one of 12 winners recognised during the virtual presentation, with Sydney’s Petra Hancock picking up the main award as the 2020 VERTO Employee of the Year.

“During these difficult COVID-19 times, Mary has been a shining light for VERTO,” Chief Executive Officer, Ron Maxwell, said.

“Mary continues to enhance the cultural identity, confidence and education and training opportunities for students from Glenroi Heights, Bowen Public and Canobolas Rural Technology schools who are involved in the VERTO Aboriginal Youth Leadership Program.

“A proud Wiradjuri woman and inspiring community leader, Mary plays a critical role in helping bridge the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

“Mary is admired by students, the community and her peers alike, and was a thoroughly deserving winner of the 2020 VERTO Service Star (Community Services) award.”

Full list of award winners:

  • Excellence in Cross Service Support – Pamela Hunter (Bathurst)
  • Excellence in Innovation – IT Team;
  • Excellence in Leadership – Jacinta Ryan (Wagga Wagga);
  • Excellence in Indigenous Outcomes – Mudgee/Kandos/Gulgong jobactive Team;
  • Excellence in Team Performance – Skills Checkpoint Team;
  • Service Star (Apprenticeship Services) – Terry Clark (Newcastle);
  • Service Star (Community Services) – Mary Croaker (Orange);
  • Service Star (Corporate Services) – Kelly Reilly (Newcastle);
  • Service Star (Employment Services) – Jessica Bennett (Lithgow);
  • Service Star (Training Services) – Rebecca Green (Newcastle);
  • Graham Draffin Scholarship – Diana Mudford (Newcastle)
  • Employee of the Year – Petra Hancock (Sydney).

There were also two staff recognised for outstanding dedication to VERTO with length of service trophies - Eugenie Wilde (10 years) and Sue Brown (20 years).