"I've just got a passion for helping people, helping my community, helping others, it's as simple as that," beamed a proud Leonie Morcome this week.
The newly announced Deadly Health Worker of the Year admits that she is still overwhelmed by the national accolade, and greatly humbled by the support she has received from everyone around her.
"There were tears," she laughed.
"I couldn't believe the way the community got behind me, right from the very beginning when they nominated me for the award without me knowing, the campaigning they did in the lead up and then the amazing homecoming when I got back last Wednesday, it's incredibly humbling," Leonie said.
On Tuesday, September 10 in front of a packed audience at Sydney Opera House, that included some of the biggest names from the sporting and entertainment industries, Leonie was announced as the 19th Deadly Health Worker of the Year, an award that takes in all indigenous health workers throughout Australia.
For Leonie the award is the highlight of a career that spans a quarter of a century and will only serve to drive her more to improve the health of her people, educate young people and give back to the community that has given her so much.
Leonie took up a traineeship when she was 17 years old and recalls not being overly interested in the industry but was surprised to be offered the job.
"I thought, 'who, me?' but I decided to give it a go and I haven't looked back," she said.
"I just love what I do and I believe in a holistic approach to health, right from educating our youth to make the right choices, to showing people the services that are available to them, ensuring they have access to help, and just fostering healthy living in all its forms."
Leonie has worked her way up to be Biripi's senior Aboriginal public health worker and over the years has obtained her diploma in health science, certificate IV in Aboriginal Primary Health, certificate IV in family domestic violence and sexual assault and a diploma in frontline management.
She attributes an unbreakable bond with her mother as one of the biggest impacts on her life, along with having her own children.
"I'm so close with my mother, she's always been there to guide me and nurture me and always made me feel like I could do anything I wanted to do," explained Leonie.
"She taught me the importance of work and helping others and I'm trying to instill the same beliefs in my two boys."
Leonie proudly declared that her sons Jardin and Shane are "my biggest achievements and I work hard everyday for them and for my family."
She's an inspiring role model for the whole community and the area, with an unfaltering, positive outlook and can-do attitude that has seen numerous projects come to life not just in the health sector.
"We're jacks of all trades at Biripi," she enthused.
"From driving people to appointments, counselling, youth work, education, cultural events, you name it, it's all part of health and well being, so it's all important."
Leonie said she couldn't have achieved anything without the help of so many other people, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal, and particularly wished to thank her fellow staff who nominated her for the Deadly award.
"Ronald Morcome, Kelly Mitchell, Stephanie Slater, Raylene Newell, Margaret Bird, Jan and Jennifer Mitchell and Karen Bradley, I couldn't have done it without them, it's a great team out there," she added.
And with the dust hardly settled from this year's Deadly Awards, Leonie is already back home and on to the next project, with new ideas and events she wants to organise to further enhance and develop her community and people.
"If I've got one person to ask a question or to go to an appointment they needed, or take precautions with different things, then I've done my job and that's what keeps me going," she said.