When Elaine Heskett lost her sight 12 years ago, she had a decision to make. Would she stay at home where she was safe and comfortable? Or would she continue to live her life to the fullest?
Mrs Heskett chose the latter, and her subsequent work in the community has been commemorated with a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM).
"I was absolutely shocked at first (when she found out), because there are so many people in our community that do so much," Mrs Heskett said. "I'm very humbled and honoured to have been first nominated, and then confirmed."
Mrs Heskett has long been involved with Guide Dogs NSW/ACT and Vision Australia, and is also the treasurer for the Moruya branch of the Country Women's Association (CWA).
She's also a strong campaigner on issues for the visually impaired.
"I've been involved in community service all my life, but losing my sight was life changing," she said. "From then on my whole world was turned upside down.
"Every cloud has a silver lining though, and it's led me down a completely different path. I became very aware of the impacts on blind and vision-impaired people.
"One of the first things I couldn't do was move between the two main parts of Batemans Bay, because there was no way of crossing Perry Street safely.
"I advocated very strongly for those traffic lights on North Street to allow people like me to move in that part of town safely.
"From that point forward, I became very involved with council to try and raise awareness for the difficulties blind people face on a daily basis."
Mrs Heskett also does a lot of public speaking to try to raise awareness on the work that Vision Australia and Guide Dogs NSW/ACT does in the community.
"My concentration now is the Guide Dogs," she said. "I try to raise awareness about the services they provide, but also to get out there and live life to the full in the hope it will encourage others to do likewise.
"I also work in a craft shop in Moruya one or two days a week, so I'm quite well known, as is my guide dog Mr Darcy.
"It all helps to keep me out of mischief."
Mrs Heskett said the OAM was testament to the support she receives every single day.
"This award doesn't just belong to me, it belongs to so many people," she said. "My husband who supports me in every single thing I do. He drives me everywhere, and nothing I do would be possible without his help.
"I also have an extremely supportive family, and extremely supportive friends.
"I also have to mention my guide dog, Mr Darcy, because he's my ticket to independence, freedom, to be active, and to live a meaningful life."