Raby volunteer honoured for service to veterans

"I am the wife of a veteran, the mother of a veteran and the mother-in-law of a soldier - I like to help out returning servicemen because it feels good to help other people."

Raby's Pauline James is well-known for her volunteer work in the local community and now she has been recognised for her efforts.

Mrs James has been named as a recipient of a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in this year's Australia Day Honours List.

She has been a long-term member of the Ingleburn RSL Sub-branch's women's auxiliary and is the current state president of the Returned Services League NSW Women's Auxiliary.

"I was humbled to even be nominated," she said.

"It was a surprise - I have no idea who nominated me.

"I have always loved volunteering."

Mrs James first started volunteering when she was a child and continued to give back to her community throughout her adult life.

"I started the first Navy playgroup for children in 1974," she said.

"Then I joined the women's auxiliary.

"Since then I have done a lot to help out veterans - I organised quilts to be made for the Invictus Games, and organised the the yellow poppies that were sold at the games.

"We also worked with the Vietnamese community to raise $85,000 for Vietnam veterans in the area."

The avid volunteer said soldiers needed more support after leaving active duty.

"Particularly when a soldier is medically discharged, they often don't know what to do after the military," Mrs James said.

"The Army, Navy, Air Force is all they knew - they had a roof over their head, a job to do, they felt wanted.

"When they leave they still want to feel wanted not just kicked to the kerb."

Mrs James encouraged other locals to volunteer with community organisations.

"You're never to old to volunteer - we have a 103-year-old woman at the Fairfield women's auxiliary who still gets out and sells poppies," she said.

"I am a big believer that volunteering keeps you young.

"It's also a great way to support other people and put a smile on someone's face.

"So get out there and volunteer, whether it's with the sub-branch, rotary, the Lions Club, anywhere - please consider volunteering because we could all use the extra support."