She's had to keep it a secret for weeks but now Doreen Mina is excited to announce that she is an Order of Australian Medallist.
Ms Mina, who you might recognise from the Lithgow Hospital Auxiliary, is receiving her OAM for 50 years of volunteer work with the group.
"I am over the moon and overjoyed to get this award," she said.
Ms Mina, who doesn't know who nominated her, was given her 50 years of service pin after giving up many hours of her own time to help serve the Lithgow community in December 2020.
She has since had to step away from the auxiliary due the COVID-19 pandemic, but as a life member she still plays a big role within the group.
"I received this beautiful letter saying I got the award and that a ceremony would take place in April or May," she said.
"I was overjoyed, I always read the Telegraph and the list of award winners so I'm overwhelmed that I'll see mine."
Ms Mina began her volunteer work with the Auxiliary in 1970 after an accident brought her to the hospital.
"I was at the hospital a lot, and there were some lovely girls who said 'why don't you join and come have a coffee with us in the canteen' and then I just stayed," she said.
Ms Mina was also the Lithgow delegate, and got to travel all around the state for conferences to attend.
"It takes you everywhere, I have been to Port Macquarie, Batemans Bay, Sydney, and I did it for many long years," she said
While COVID-19 stopped her from volunteering, at 87 (in February) Ms Mina is proud of what she has achieved.
"Bronwyn Boyling the Lithgow Hospital General Manager, some nurses and doctors lined the hall to give me a lovely farewell outside the coffee shop, I was crying not because I was sad but because I didn't know the staff loved me and thought the world of me and I was so overjoyed at the thought," she said.
"I'll never forget it, it was so lovely. One doctor told me that he had never heard of someone staying at one place to volunteer for over 50 years."
Ms Mina, who is one of 17 children, left school at 12 to look after her younger siblings.
"I never made it to high school but I think I've done a lot with my life, it's been hard at times having to raise my three children alone after my husband was in an accident," she said.
There has been light in the darkness though, Ms Mina said.
"I started at the old hospital which had a hole in the wall and we would sell lollies and then when they were building the new hospital they took us to other hospitals to see how they ran, which was exciting," she said.
"So I've been at the current hospital ever since it was built."
Ms Mina said she has "enjoyed every bit of it."
"Everyone I met, especially the pool ladies, there were six or seven of them and each of them had a different coffee order and I would have to make all these different coffees," she said.
"I did enjoy it, whoever nominated me, thank you, never in a million years did I think I would get this award, and I'm very lucky, it's one of the highest honours you can get so I'm proud and thankful."
Ms Mina encouraged others to come and get a coffee or a snack from the hospital auxiliary ladies when they are allowed to reopen.
"They told me I could come to the hospital and get a free coffee and I said no I will be paying for my coffee because that's what it's all about - raising money for the hospital," she said.
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