Order Of Australia Medal To Sailability Volunteer For Services To Sailors With Disabilities
Eli DEMENY of Sailability Manly NSW, in Australia, has been awarded the Order of Australia Medal (OAM), General Division, for services to people with disabilities through her work with Sailability Manly and various schools in the neighbouring area.
The honour was announced this week by the Australian Government in their Australia Day Honours List.
After a long and distinguished teaching career, Eli DEMENY retired in 1996 and, during the past 12 years, has been instrumental in establishing and running community initiatives such as schooling programmes for children with special needs. For the past seven she has been an educator and supporter of disabled children at various schools in the area.
In 1997 she became a founding member of Sailability Manly, part of a international movement with the principal aim of facilitating sailing opportunities for people with disabilities. The offices she held in the club include: President (2000); Commodore (2003); and the portfolio of Club Secretary for eight years, an indication of the club members' recognition of her ability and devotion to the club. Sailability Manly, located on Sydney Harbour, is one of the largest and most innovative Sailability operations in the country.
Additional contributions include: acting as Secretary at the Sailability Manly Committee meetings; running the bookings programme, coordinating the individual disabled sailors and the sailing commitments of various disability organizations. She also contributes to the Sailability Manly newsletter "Signals" and website.
Patrick ALEXANDER, Past President of Sailability Manly was thrilled when he heard of DEMENY's OAM. "Eli is very deserving of this honour and on behalf of all of the volunteers of Sailability Manly and our many disabled sailors, I'd like to congratulate Eli on receiving this award and thank her for her many contributions to the club. I hate to think where we would be without Eli's efforts and energy."
DEMENY was overwhelmed by both the nomination and the award. "I'd like to thank my husband, Ivan, without whom I could never have contributed nor achieved so much for Sailability Manly. I'd also like to thank all of the volunteers and sponsors such as Manly and Warringah Councils, the Rotary Club of Manly Sunrise, Manly Yacht Club and others, who make Sailability Manly and sailing each fortnight a reality for so many disabled people."
Sailability NSW is one of eight state or territory organizations under the umbrella of Sailability Australia. Sailability Australia is represented within peak body Yachting Australia by a committee of state and territory delegates chaired by former YA President Bruce DICKSON and is part of the worldwide Sailability organization. In NSW alone, there are 26 Sailability branches, each running regular sailing days. The scope of Sailability and details of each branch's sailing events can be observed by visiting www.sailability.org