by S Lowe 5THE FM’S newsonline wattlerangenow
On Friday 31st October Terry Laucirica, valued volunteer with 5THE FM, was named Senior of the Year 2014 at the award ceremony organised by the Wattle Range Council Seniors of the Month committee. The Award was sponsored by the SE Times and was announced by the Mayor Peter Gandolfi who presented Terry with her award.
Terry Laucirica is a quiet achiever who has contributed to her community in many ways since arriving in Millicent 35 years ago, with her new husband local Millicent man Sec Laucirica, who she married in the Philippines. They have a daughter Amaya who is a successful recording artist.
Terry was born in the Philippines, and as an adult was a school teacher there for 12 years. After settling in Millicent she worked at SAFRIES in Millicent for 3 years and at Penola for 10 years on 12 hour shifts.
She was the first Filipino woman to make Millicent her home and her first point of contact with local people was the Catholic Church where she still maintains those friendships she made; she is still actively involved in the church. She has been a member of the Millicent Catholic Parish Pastoral Council for 2 years and a member of the Multicultural Council in Adelaide for 2 terms.
She has visited Sheoak Lodge on Sundays to give Holy Communion to the residents for many years. She cleans the church, arranges flowers in the church for Sunday services and does whatever is needed. She performs the Liturgy at Sheoak Lodge once a month for the residents.
When her daughter Amaya was at school in Millicent, she was heavily involved in school canteen duties.
Terry has volunteered with Meals on Wheels in Millicent for 13 years.
In 1991, she began what has now become an annual Christmas event for the past 23 years. It began as a Filipino Christmas Party but quickly developed into a multi cultural Christmas Party attended by up to 80 people from many different backgrounds. Last year it was held at Lake McIntyre celebrating with multi-national foods. She arranges gifts and entertainment and makes everyone feel welcome.
Since 2002, she has held a weekly prayer meeting in her home to pray for local people and local issues in the region. This time is also used to spend time together over lunch and form friendships.
For 35 years Terry has welcomed all newcomers to Millicent. People settling here from the Philippines, Africa, Asia or anywhere at all; she passes on her experiences to them and helps them settle into their new home. She quickly befriends them, offers them emotional support, has get togethers in her home to cook traditional food and helps their orientation into their new home.
She is regarded with great respect by all who know her and is loved by the numerous people she has helped settle in to the region.
Terry began hosting the Filipino radio program on 5THE FM 8 years ago to make sure that the program would continue, when the original presenter moved overseas. She wanted to make sure her Filipino friends still had this program to enjoy and still have access to information about their community, which is broadcast through 5THE FM in their birth language. Terry also presents day time week day programs on 107.7 as well as the Filipino program on weekends. She enjoys hosting the day time programs using her daughter’s collection of music to entertain listeners. Her daughter is particularly proud of her mother hosting the day time English speaking programs, she said.
She is actively involved in fundraising events for 5THE FM and generously provides her Filipino spring rolls for events and special meetings at the station. She willingly sells raffle tickets to raise funds.
Home for Terry is both Australia and the Phillipines – ‘both are my home; the Philippines are in my heart because I was born there and my family are there but Australia has been kind to me and I love it here and I have my family here too – so I have two homes,’ she says.
To her fellow Filipino friends she is their elder and all call her Aunty as a sign of respect.
They describe her as:-
• A big help to them when they arrive
• She helps them with medical issues
• She tells them about voting
• She helps them with schools for their children
• She offers them valuable emotional support
• She is kind and generous
Terry doesn’t think she is doing anything out of the ordinary; it just comes naturally to her to help where she sees a need. She has used the hurdles she faced in settling into a new country, to make life easier for those who have followed her.
She is easily pleased, appreciates the simple things in life – a simple card, a phone call, flowers picked from your garden, a smile. She is generous, kind, softly spoken, never angry and doesn’t hold a grudge.
Terry loves her family and friends, Australia, 5THE FM, music, her church and her garden.
Terry provides a valuable service to new migrants in our community through her commitment to help them feel at home and settle in, providing information and support. She also uses her radio program to help do this; often giving Filipino to English lessons for simple daily phrases needed in life.
She has shown leadership in the many ways she has contributed to her community, by seeing a need to help migrants and quietly going about it in her own way to help them settle into their new country.
Terry’s appreciation for her new homeland Australia extends in so many ways. When she first arrived in Millicent she did not drive and a neighbour’s husband used to kindly drive her to the shops and appointments when her husband was at work, so as soon as Terry received her driver’s license she began driving others to their appointments simply to return the kindness she had been offered. This still occurs 35 years later. Terry will be 70 years old on Christmas Eve this year.
Terry told wattlerangenow, she would like to thank everyone for this honour, saying on her Filipino radio program on 107.7 Saturday, that her surprise and nervousness prevented her from speaking at the award presentation. Terry had no prior warning, it was a complete surprise to her when her name was announced by the Mayor.
“I would like to thank the Senior of the Year coordinator Catarina Santos for her kindness and understanding of my excitement and nervousness yesterday at the award ceremony. Thank you to Mayor Gandolfi for his kind words and thank you to Budz Florist for the beautiful flowers. I am so happy and so proud and honoured to receive this Award and it is a big honour for me. Thank you Sheryl, 5THE FM’S manager for nominating me.
“I feel like the proud tennis players when they hold their beautiful trophy above their head,” she said.
“I am also very honoured because I am the first Filipino person to win such an award in the region. Thankyou everyone.”