JACKIE Dermody is a well-know name in Hobart’s northern suburbs.
Since migrating from Zimbabwe to Tasmania, Mrs Dermody has become a pillar in the community through her extensive work with Meals on Wheels and as the founder of Eating with Friends – a statewide social eating program.
The former Glenorchy City Council alderman was awarded the title of Glenorchy Citizen of the Year in 2004 for her community contributions.
Mrs Dermody, of Claremont, said it was her volunteer work that allowed her to “put down roots” in the community.
“In my opinion, that is what we are put on this earth to do – to help each other,” she said.
“If you can’t help your fellow man, then it’s a pretty sad life.”
This passion to help others was compromised when Mrs Dermody developed rheumatoid arthritis, a condition that severely limited her mobility.
“It got progressively worse until I was on crutches and needed to use a wheelchair,” she said.
“Gradually, I got a number of surgical replacements that allowed me to walk again, but over the past year I have had problems with my knee.
“After a few stints in hospital I am now unable to use my left leg and, by extension, the clutch in my car.”
With her husband needing care after suffering from a stroke, Mrs Dermody found it difficult to perform her domestic tasks and community obligations without the use of her vehicle.
Seeing this need, Independent Member for Elwick Adriana Taylor approached the Lions Club of Glenorchy in the hope of getting Mrs Dermody back out into the community and doing the work she loved.
“I knew that Jackie still had so much to give and needed to have her mobility back,” Mrs Taylor said.
“As a pensioner, and with her many medical bills, she wouldn’t be able to afford the scooter and from past experience, I know how generous the Lions Club is.”
With funding assistance provided by the Lions Club of Glenorchy, Mrs Dermody recently received a mobility scooter supplied by Moonah-based business Walk on Wheels.
“It is fantastic that the Lions have been able to come in and fulfil Jackie’s need in the same way that she has fulfilled the need for so many other community groups,” Mrs Taylor said.
Lions Club of Glenorchy member Jack Allen, who is chairman of the project, said the decision to help fund the scooter was unanimous.
“When you know all the hard work Jackie has done for the community, then you know she needs to be mobile,” he said.
“If we had rejected buying a scooter, then she would have been house-bound and the community would have lost an extremely valuable member.
“We would like to thank Adriana for referring this need to us and Scott Calvert, from Walk on Wheels, for his generous contribution to the cause.”
Mr Calvert said Walk on Wheels had assisted on a number of previous occasions and was again “happy to help.”
“It is a very worthwhile cause because if people like Jackie don’t have mobility then her great passion to help people in the community would be lost,” he said.
“A scooter gives people the freedom and mobility to be able to live their life as normally as possible and we are always happy to help out when there is a need.”
Since receiving her mobility scooter, Mrs Dermody has already put it to good use helping to prepare desserts for an Eating with Friends event in Claremont.
“The scooter is so comfortable to ride in and it gives me access to all sorts of places,” Mrs Dermody said.
“I’m now planning on trying out the scooter on the bike track that runs between Claremont and Glenorchy.”
Walk on Wheels is located at 53 Sunderland Street, Moonah and can be contacted on telephone 6273 8300.