Shetlander Nicola Stove has tirelessly worked through the pandemic, helping the British Red Cross assist those who needed it most.
But she never did it expecting any recognition.
Mrs Stove, who has been working with the Red Cross for almost eight years, had her role changed dramatically as a result of the pandemic, and took on more responsibility to ensure communities got what they required to get through the Covid crisis.
The 42-year-old said she couldn’t believe it when she received the email to say she would be receiving a British Empire Medal (BEM), as she said she doesn’t usually even win raffles.
She said: “When I got the email, I opened it up and initially thought it must be some sort of scam, but had a good read of it and realised it was legitimate.
“It was quite overwhelming and humbling actually to think that people had nominated me.
“I never do anything in my role in the community for myself, it’s always for the people we support and the volunteers that support the organisation, so it was a big surprise.
“There were some tears and disbelief.
“We nominate our colleagues for a lot of things, but I never thought I’d be on the receiving end of a nomination, as I never even win anything in a raffle.”
From her home in Lerwick, Mrs Stove became part of the British Red Cross management task force for the pandemic, and covered a huge chunk of Scotland, from Moray on the east of her boundary area, to Skye in the west, and all the way up to John O’Groats, as well as the Western Isles, Shetland and Orkney.
And in addition to covering those regions, she also took it upon herself to perform extra duties and cover staff shortages in the Lochaber and Tayside regions.
The workforce she coordinated throughout the pandemic has been a mix of volunteers and staff who provided food parcels, medication, financial aid, welfare calls, patient transport, personal protective equipment (PPE) distribution to care homes and surgeries, and assistance to several councils and foodbanks.
Across April and May, she worked almost every single day to make sure nobody was left hungry or in a dangerous situation throughout the Highlands and islands.
Mrs Stove added: “I’ve never worked with an organisation that has such a feel-good factor.
“There are a lot of challenges we face in our day-to-day work, but there’s so much you get back from it from the people we support, the volunteers we help to reach their goals, and feedback from the public.
“I have a fantastic team that I work alongside. In my career, this has definitely been my most favourite job.
“Every day is different, and every day is a challenge.”
She added: “I won’t lie and say there’s not been a lot of tears working this year.
“As part of our work our teams would have huddles three times a week to make sure our team members were supporting each other, and there was a lot of crying while on those calls, as a lot of the things we were helping out with in the community have been difficult, and some people’s situations have been horrific.
“But having a really good support network around us has been brilliant, and has made us as a team stronger.
“I’m interested to see what next year brings for us.”