A very special guest at the Supported Employee Awards

Former Newcastle Knights player, Owen Craigie, visits Aruma’s Medical Packaging site.

October 9, 2023

We know our Supported Employee’s bring their A-Game to each day, but we also know how nice it feels to be rewarded for hard work.

An Aruma tradition is to celebrate our Employees of the month with an awards ceremony and delicious barbecue. To make this month a little special, we also invited a special guest – Indigenous Former Newcastle Knights player, Owen Craigie!

“It was a great day, and it meant a lot to everyone. The team were very excited and very loud. I’m sure this day will be long remembered and will lead to many more exciting events,” said Service Delivery Manager Packaging, Grahame Shearman.

A massive congratulations to Joe Sarno, Debbie Buckley, Jane Daldry, Kathy Parsons, Riley Briggs and Gerald Kominatos, who all received awards!

FUN FACT: The Lambton packaging site (which employs 100 supported employees) is just two blocks away from Newcastle stadium.

How Owen came to be invited as a guest of honour at the event is also an interesting story in itself.

Grahame explained, “I was cleaning up and came across some memorabilia which featured articles –photos, stories, and comments from high-level players. The articles and photos document an entire history of Owen’s story. It was a massive, framed memorabilia – 1metre x 1metre sitting behind a cupboard at our medical packaging facility at Lambton.”

“I googled Owen and started to look at all the information and his story on how he fell on hard times. I reached out to the media team at Newcastle Knights. They called Owen who was absolutely stoked [to be invited].”

Following the awards ceremony, the team presented Owen with the discovered memorabilia.

“Owen was stoked about receiving it. He got a little emotional when we gave it to him, it was a really nice moment,” said Grahame.

Owen made his first-grade debut with the Newcastle Knights at the age of 17 in 1995. He went on to play for 10 years with the Knights, Wests Tigers and South Sydney and is the only player in the history of rugby league to represent the Australian schoolboys on three occasions. Owen now runs his own charity, The Big OC Foundation.

We also invited NBN News on the day, and The Newcastle Herald, who shared the story on October 6th.


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