SydWest farewells "humanitarian heart"

One of Blacktown City's biggest hearts stepped down from the helm of SydWest Multicultural Services on Friday, June 27.

Susan Vogel, 65, of Toongabbie, worked her last day as the community service organisation's chief executive where she began as its aged care services manager in 2002.

On Thursday, 128 staff threw Mrs Vogel a farewell to mark the end of a career in caring for others, with an array of gifts presented to the sound of cheers and tears.

Blacktown's "quiet achiever," Susan Vogel, who grew up in the Parramatta region. Picture: Natalie Roberts.

Blacktown's "quiet achiever," Susan Vogel, who grew up in the Parramatta region. Picture: Natalie Roberts.

"I've never felt so overwhelmed or empowered in my life," Mrs Vogel said.

"It was like a wedding, lots of presents and lots of photos."

From 2002 to 2006 and under a tight budget, Mrs Vogel grew SydWest's aged-care services from 18 care workers to about 50, and greatly increased the number of aged-care staff who were bilingual with English and another language before her promotion in 2006.

As CEO, she oversaw services including groups for mothers and seniors, and early intervention programs for migrant families, to connect people from different cultures to services they will need to become self-sufficient Australians.

"People who have come from overseas, some have been in camps," Mrs Vogel said.

"We help them through those very confusing first years.

"They don't have that support of the village where they've come from, but there are other ways to get that support."

SydWest director/Chief Inspector Bob Fitzgerald of Blacktown police described Mrs Vogel as a "humanitarian heart" who had shaped Blacktown and Mt Druitt for the better.

"She's what I'd call a quiet achiever," he said.

"As a resident of the area, I've seen the positive impact she's had."

SydWest settlement services co-ordinator Abdulla Agwa described Mrs Vogel as an advocate for multiculturalism and a humble leader much loved by her staff and the community she served.

"We are sad to lose her, but we pray that God will bless her during her retirement," Mr Agwa said.

"We will need to work very hard to to keep the values and foundation and the vision that Susan has already laid down."

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