SALLY Pymer has touched the lives of Wimmera residents from many different walks of life.
Since moving from Adelaide to Horsham in 1993, she has worked as a scientist at the Victorian Institute of Dryland Agriculture, a fitness instructor, a family respite worker for people with disabilities and a community facilitator with Horsham Rural City Council.
Her newest role at the Wimmera Health Care Group will allow her to continue to have a meaningful impact on the local community, at a very individual level.
Before meeting her husband Jason, a Horsham farmer, Mrs Pymer grew up in Warracknabeal and Horsham and studied science and psychology at Flinders University in Adelaide.
"I wanted to be a sports psychologist but it's a bit hard to be a sports psychologist in the Wimmera," she said.
While at the council, Mrs Pymer was involved with a youth project, street art at Horrsham skate park, consulted over the Anzac pedestrian bridge and developed a volunteering policy.
But the council role that left a lasting impression on her was her work in fire recovery after the Northern Grampians Complex Fires in 2014.
"About a week after it happened I worked in the recovery centre. A position was needed to focus on fire recovery and I started in that position three or four months after the fires," she said.
"There was a lot going on with people rebuilding."
Mrs Pymer talked to communities in Laharum, Dadswells Bridge and Stawell about what needed to happen to re-establish the social fabric, organising events such as dinners, fitness classes and movie nights.
"Different people cope differently. Some people lost houses in the fires, some lost a lot of stock and some people were out of town," she said.
"It did have a bit of an impact on me: I guess you always want to be able to do more. I'd like to be able to help everybody, so at times it was a little frustrating I couldn't do everything I wanted to for them."
After leaving the council, Mrs Pymer began as co-ordinator of the Wimmera Drug Action Taskforce in 2015. She considered being involved with the council's YouthCAN project a major achievement during this time.
"I was interested in health promotion and people being as healthy as they can," she said.
"The taskforce isn't just about drugs but also a healthy lifestyle, having good education and role models - preventative factors.
"I think trying to get the word out there about young people drinking and the supply of alcohol by parents was a good thing.
"It's not the easiest job, especially when you're talking about alcohol and people don't want to talk about it. (But) being stopped in the street and people saying they like what you're doing means a lot."
Mrs Pymer said she hoped in the future the taskforce could secure funding that lasted more than 12 months for projects it wanted to do.
"We could do all these small projects but we didn't have a chance to do projects over many years, which you kind of need with health promotion," she said.
"It would be good to have some multi-year funding, and a lot of support from the community in it. (Having the co-ordinator) working more than two days a week is probably a good thing. If there are messages being put out there, share them.
"If you don't like the supply of alcohol to kids, do something about it. Sometimes people think it's everybody else's job to do stuff, but the community can be very powerful."
Mrs Pymer said alcohol remained her area of greatest concern having departed the WDAT.
Mrs Pymer is now the Wimmera Health Care Group's drug and alcohol co-ordinator, where she links people who need support for drug and drinking problems into support services to protect their health.
"The taskforce was all about prevention, so this is actually the treatment side of it as well," she said.
"Sometimes you might think it's not having an effect on your life but when you think about it it is: It could be affecting your finances, people might lose their licence or not be able to eat properly.
"For some people when they realise this it's like a light bulb moment, but people have to be willing to take on that information. For some people drugs and alcohol are their way of coping with things, so to take away the one thing they have can be quite scary."
Mrs Pymer said there would always be misconceptions around drug and alcohol use, and the best thing people could do was educate themselves.
"If you've got the knowledge about the positives and negatives and harms, you can make your own decision about what you want to do," she said.
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