DOZENS of local volunteers have been recognised for their contribution to the community at a National Volunteer Awards ceremony.
Held as part of the United Nations International Volunteer celebrations, the event was hosted by member for Wannon Dan Tehan and recognised not only individual workers but organisations with innovative models of volunteering.
Mr Tehan told the gathering at Ararat that country communities were sustained by their local volunteers.
“Volunteers really are our everyday heroes,” Mr Tehan said.
“Volunteering often involves mundane tasks like driving, spending hours at committee meetings and fund-raising. This is often work that goes unnoticed.”
The awards ceremony was also addressed by Russell Rachinger, who served for more than 25 years in the Australian Regular Army, spent 16 months in Antarctica as leader of the 1987 Casey Australian Antarctic research expedition and was recently independent chairman of the Ararat correctional precinct community advisory group.
South-west volunteers who received awards for their long-term commitment to community service included Maureen Beattie of Port Fairy, Gordon Connor of Koroit, Keith Gardiner of Warrnambool, Jeff Arnall of Casterton and Joy Savill of Heywood.
Volunteer groups recognised included the Lyndoch Auxiliary in Warrnambool, the Western District Health Service Hospital Opportunity Shop in Hamilton and the Eventide Lutheran Garden Group in Hamilton.
Volunteers recognised for their work in education included David McGinness of Panmure for his work as the Warrnambool RSL sub-branch’s memorabilia and memorial officer, and the Terang College kitchen garden group, which works with college students to grow and cook produce from the school’s own garden.
The Heywood Men’s Shed received an Innovation in Volunteering award for its wide range of activities that includes a re-engagement program for wayward secondary students, a monthly food swap and men’s health meetings.
Member of Parliament’s Award recipients included Kate Daffy for her work in the Cobden and Camperdown communities and Kevin Safe and Peter Schroder of Hamilton for their work in bringing to fruition a sculpture project commemorating the gallantry of Victoria Cross recipient Ted Kenna.