'Legend' is a word that can be used all too often nowadays, but when when it is used to describe Stawell resident Elva Raggatt, it fits perfectly.
At the Stawell 'Red Garter' Red Cross' first meeting of 2021, Mrs Raggatt was stunned after she was presented with a 50 year service badge.
As she was presented the badge of honour, smiles beamed around the table from her fellow Red Garter members, as they watched their volunteer idol in admiration.
Mrs Raggatt said she was surprised and humbled to receive the award after volunteering with the Red Cross as a way of giving back to her community.
"I joined Red Cross because it is an organisation that does a lot to help many people," she said.
"To become involved with the Red Cross means you are able to help others in ways that other organisations aren't able to and to make a difference and help others.
"I love the friendship of our meetings and getting the chance to meet people down the street.
Mrs Raggatt first joined the Stawell Red Cross 39 years ago, after volunteering with a farming community near Swan Hill for more than 11 years beforehand.
Over her time with Stawell Red Cross, Mrs Raggatt said she held many fond memories.
"We used to have an Oaks Day luncheon in the Town Hall and we used to have a street stall in the kiosk at the mall, every first Friday of the month and we used to raise a lot of money from that," she said.
"We always would have our loyal members that would come to the stall and buy all your cooking, so there was never anything left over.
"I always looked forward to that.
"If there was fires we used to make sandwiches for the firefighters and one of the members would jump in the car and take it out and deliver it to them."
Mrs Raggatt said the role of the Red Cross had changed greatly over the years due to rules and regulations, but she had no plans of slowing down yet.
"I still have that inbuilt feeling to help with the Red Cross, even though it is bit different now to what it used to be," she said.
"I would like to encourage other people to join Red Cross, it is a great way to meet people and get involved in the community."
Kerry Hapgood was also presented with a 10 year service badge at the meeting.
Service badges such as these are usually presented at Government House in Melbourne, but with COVID precautions the Stawell Red Garters couldn't wait any longer and decided to present the awards at their first meeting in twelve months.
After the restrictions of last year, the Stawell Red Garters said they are looking forward to running fundraising events and giving the time to help those need it most in Stawell.
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