In the media notes when announcing her Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the recent 2020 Queen's Birthday Honours list, Edensor Park resident Lucy Marin had only two things listed.
One, that she has been a Spanish bicultural counsellor, since 1989 at Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors (STARTTS). And two, that she is a member of the centre's clinical supervisor's training group.
It doesn't do justice to her 30-plus years service to the health and rehabilitation of refugees. A career that grew from her own "painful experiences" coming to Australia.
"I got married four days after the coup in Chile in 1973. It was actually my father who pushed us to leave. At that time, my mother's family were involved in politics and they were being persecuted and incarcerated," she said.
"For the other members of the family it meant we were on edge and anything could happen. So we left thinking we would only be gone a short time...we didn't know much about Australia."
That was 1977. Since then together with husband Oscar and their two children, they have built their life in Australia.
Early on most of her work as a councillor was spent working with the Spanish speaking community following unrest in Latin American countries Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and El Salvador.
These days the 68-year-old works - with the help of interpreter - with the large influx of refugees that have arrived in Fairfield.
Her mission is to try and help newly-arrived people to Australia settle on all levels, including physical and emotional.
"It's not easy. It's one thing to migrate to another country to make a better life, it's a different story when your life is in danger and you have to leave because there is no other choice," she said.
"For me I can use my own experiences to help people through the trauma and together we use a multi-disciplinary approach including education programs and support groups to help them through what is a tough time."
So what did she think of receiving an OAM?
"It was a bit of shock. But I'm very proud," she said.
Mrs Marin will receive her OAM in October.
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