Ninja Nana and Queen of Mirani some of the Selfless Seniors featured in photography portrait exhibit

September 16, 2020
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They are the locals who, despite their long years, always give back to their community and now a photo portrait exhibition is honouring their contribution.

The council-run exhibit is called Selfless Seniors and highlights those who go above and beyond in what they do in the Mackay region.

Seventy-seven-year-old Gerri Kissner, who is known as Ninja Nana, is a black belt in martial arts and says she resents the term “retired”.

“Just because you’re a senior and you’ve maybe retired, which is a really bad word, to me it’s a redirection,” she said.

Mrs Kissner’s work in the community includes helping out with cuppa-and-chat sessions which connect locals and police.

She works closely with the crime prevention unit, running personal safety sessions, co-ordinating two neighbourhood watches as well as running the Be Connected program to help older patrons get online.

“I’m no different to many other active seniors who help out in the community and I like to give back because I’m very fortunate, I’ve got great health and I think mentally I’m still ok,” Mrs Kissner said.

Alongside all of this she runs the Little Ninjas program with the Police and Community Youth Club (PCYC) which she says helps kids defend themselves and gain confidence.

“They got to know how to keep themselves safe and there’s so much happening in the world today, electronically and physically,” Mrs Kissner said.

Country queen

Grenda Robke, 81, affectionately known as the Queen of Mirani, said her job looking after Dows Creek Hall and organising line dancing was a lifelong passion.

“I was a child when my father was the MC. He taught me to dance and I’ve danced all my life,” she said.

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