Val Rooney receives Order of Australia Medal in Australia Day honours

Selfless: Boronia Heights woman Valerie Rooney has been honoured with an OAM on Australia Day.

Selfless: Boronia Heights woman Valerie Rooney has been honoured with an OAM on Australia Day.

A selfless hero who said she had a gift for recognising need in the community has been honoured with an Order of Australia Medal.

Val Rooney has spent her life helping others by volunteering with a long list of community organisations.

Mrs Rooney has spent decades helping women who have lost war-veteran husbands.

She is a former president of the Australian War Widows Queensland, which aims to reach out in friendship and camaraderie to wives of servicemen.

She was on the Mayoress Welfare Committee under Lillian Golledge, and an ambulance panel which raised money for paramedics.

Mrs Rooney set about raising money for a new defibrillator, but knew more was needed than the traditional approach.

"They used to stand on the side of the Mt Lindesay Highway with a can, that's how they got their money," she said.

Mrs Rooney, 81, said she had a knack of recognising need.

"It is a gift from God," she said.

"I have the foresight to see where things are needed.

"Like the war widows. I saw a need there for women. It is pretty tough when you lose your husband."

Mrs Rooney was a long-time president of that organisation, but knew when it was time to step down.

"I believe you have to know your use-by date," she said.

She is a former Queensland Senior Volunteer of the Year.

Mrs Rooney said she could not put into words how she felt about the award.

When notified in September, Mrs Rooney said that at first, she doubted it was true.

"I am very humbled," Mrs Rooney said on the phone from Pinnaroo, South Australia, where she was on holiday.

"I have just gone about doing what's right."

Mrs Rooney crocheted about 2000 poppies which were sent to Canberra in 2014 for the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I.

She said she would continue to donate her time to worthy causes.

"If everyone gives a little more, the world would be a better place," she said.

Mrs Rooney has five children - Bernadette, Anthony, Daniel, Julie and Elizabeth - who were thrilled with news of her award.

She said she hoped late husband Robert would be proud.