Who do you define as a hero? Is it someone famous?
A celebrity maybe. Or perhaps an inspirational leader in the public eye, a politician at the frontline of their party, vowing to change the world for the better.
Or, is it perhaps those out of the public eye; those seeking no compensation or monetary reward for their time and effort spent making others lives better.
Hairdresser Barbara Lucca, who has spent 30 years voluntarily cutting the hair of more than 70 residents at Villa Maria Aged Care in Dubbo, is the true definition of an Australian unsung hero.
Barbara works with a team of volunteers in the onsite hair salon and her service of freshening up their 'do' is the least of her offerings. Additionally, she generously donates all funds earned by the salon to the end of year residential Christmas party – an opportunity, she says, “to simply show the residents we care”.
While a humble Barbara contests the notion of heroism, her colleagues say otherwise.
“Barbara is simply amazing,” says Dianne Thomas, Residential Manager. “Her generosity with the Christmas party is just a snippet of why she’s so valued. She actually offers the residents a reprieve from their everyday lives with her kindness.”
“It just means so much to see the residents smile,” says a modest Barbara. “They love a bit of fun, and it’s just an opportunity to show them how much they mean to us.”
Barbara explains that while hairdressing was her lifelong profession, the salon life ‘didn’t really suit’. Giving something back, she says, reaps benefits not only for her clients, but also for her personally.
“When I first came to Dubbo years ago with my husband, I was kicking and screaming,” she laughs. “But it’s home now, and I love it here.”