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Supporting others has never been about the accolades for Sunshine Coast woman Kellie Debono.

When COVID-19 sent the world into forced lockdowns and the healthcare industry into overdrive, Mrs Debono did what she could to help.

While working at Bli Bli's Little Sprouts Early Learning Centre last year, she took in nurse Kerryn Palmer's children free of charge.

"At that time childcare was free so a lot of operators would not take in any children, because they weren't actually receiving money for looking after them," Mrs Debono said.

"So many childcares would not accept new children, which is what happened to Kerryn."

Gold Star winner Kellie Debono with 92.7 Mix FM breakfast announcers Mark Darin and Caroline Hutchinson and friend Karen Moran.
Gold Star winner Kellie Debono with 92.7 Mix FM breakfast announcers Mark Darin and Caroline Hutchinson and friend Karen Moran.

It was this act of kindness that earned Mrs Debono the title of the latest Gold Star award winner.

The Sunshine Coast Daily and 92.7 Mix FM breakfast announcers Mark Darin and Caroline Hutchinson joined forces on a quest to find the best service workers in the region.

The Gold Star award honours all service superstars who give 100 per cent in their roles, from friendly hospitality staff to generous mechanics.

Ms Palmer nominated Mrs Debono for the award and said her business, which helps to take care of the elderly, would've shut down if it wasn't for her.

"She understood how important it was to take care of the elderly and without her doing this I would not have been in the situation I am today looking after so many elderly clients and with a successful business," she said.

"Honestly (my) business would have shut down if I didn't have the help of Kellie, a total stranger who took in my kids for free so I could continue look after the most vulnerable."

Mrs Debono, who worked in the childcare industry for 27 years, was given the good news on air on Friday by Mark and Caroline.

"Just to be recognised and appreciated is just a very, very good feeling," she said.

Kellie Debono was crowned as the second Gold Star award winner.
Kellie Debono was crowned as the second Gold Star award winner.

"She's a nurse and I think what she was doing is very important for the community.

"We should respect and love our nurses, and I take my hat off to her because during COVID she was trying her very best to provide a service for aged care.

"We did it for free because it's a very important service that she was providing being a nurse."

Although Mrs Debono recently changed careers, she said her passion would always lie in doing what she could for the community.

"I just love children and families," she said.

"Helping people, that is the most important thing for me, whether it's in childcare, whether it's in my personal life, whether it's in my current job now.

"I'm a mum and I know how important it is to have people on your team, looking out for you as well as the children."

As part of the Gold Star award Mrs Debono won a $100 voucher to spend at restaurant Harry's On Buderim.

"I'm so excited," she said. "I've never been there.

"I'm very appreciative of Kerryn for even thinking of me."

 



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