Inspiring women work for the community
THE INAUGURAL Inspiring Women's awards were held on Friday morning to recognise the contributions nine women have made to the Gladstone community.
Held at the Yaralla Events and functions room, more than 190 men and women attended the breakfast, in the company of Minister for Women, Shannon Fentiman, MP Glenn Butcher, Mayor Gail Sellers and former State MP Liz Cunningham.
Out of the nine finalists, three ladies celebrated a win.
The young inspiring woman of the year was named as Ruby Ellen Lawler, Inspiring woman of the year went to Irene Dudley and the heroic woman of the year was named as 'Miss J', a sexual abuse survivor.
Compere Judy Whicker said Miss Lawler was the type opf person who didn't let a challenge go astray.
"She's achieved many accolades in sport, education, volunteering and public speaking," she said.
Despite Miss Lawler having a disability, the 20-year-old has recently been named the Community Linking Agency's ambassador.
Just moments after receiving her award, Miss Lawler was approached by Roseberry Community Services to become its 'face of Headspace'.
Miss Lawler's mother Suzie said she was hopefully for her daughter's win but very much surprised.
"That moment she was called, I was very proud," she said.
Ms Lawler said with Ruby's disability, every day is a struggle in a different way but Ruby defied it.
"She's always been motivated and inspired by other people and always has goals," she said.
"She's quite a role model in town and tries to make the most of each opportunity."
Like any youth though, Miss Lawler's main ambition right now is to throw a big 21st party.
To celebrate the win on Friday, Miss Lawler was taken out for lunch with best friend Nicole.
Celebrating the win with tears was Inspirational Woman award winner Irene Dudley.
Ms Dudley said the award was extremely humbling and that was what had her overcome with emotion.
"I'm much better at giving back to the community than receiving," she said.
The single mother of two said she had made many sacrifices and now, semi-retired, decided to give back by visiting the elderly and sick at hospitals.
"I always say you can forget what people said or how they acted but you never forget how somebody makes you feel," she said.
Among the awards and dressed in pink, state MP Glenn Butcher was also recognised by the health centre as the centre's first associate member.