2021 Greater Shepparton Volunteer Recognition Awards recipients announced

Five Greater Shepparton locals were recognised for their contributions to the community at last night’s 2021 Greater Shepparton Volunteer Recognition Awards.

The ceremony, held at Riverlinks Eastbank, saw five locals awarded for their volunteering to help support and improve the wider Greater Shepparton community.

The five award recipients were:

  • Young Volunteer: Tom Saxton
  • Adult Volunteer: Severin Duhring
  • Volunteer Team: Shepparton Foodshare
  • Long Serving Volunteer: Geoff Long and Gwen Wallace

Now in its eleventh year, this awards attracted an impressive 24 nominations, with entrants volunteering their time with various organisations, service clubs and sporting groups across the region.

Greater Shepparton City Council Mayor, Councillor Kim O’Keeffe congratulated each of the five winners on their award.

“I congratulate and commend each of the recipients of the 2021 Greater Shepparton Volunteer Recognition Awards,” she said.

“While every entry we received was deserving of an award, the five winners were carefully selected for their impressive displays of dedication to their community over a number of years. These awards recognise that their effort and commitment are acknowledged and appreciated.”

Due to the extremely high calibre of entries received, this year saw two recipients receive the Long Serving Volunteer Award.

Both Geoff Long and Gwen Wallace have each given back to Greater Shepparton for many decades, with Cr O’Keeffe thanking them for their ongoing contribution.

“Volunteers, such as Geoff and Gwen, are examples of members of our community who commit much of their lives to volunteering. Both recipients are extremely deserving of the award,” she said.

“Our region relies heavily on the work of volunteers. There are many events, community organisations and service clubs who would not be able to operate without the continued support they receive.

“Greater Shepparton is characterised by a volunteering culture, with Council also providing many opportunities for volunteering across a range of programs. We value each and every one of our volunteers and the contribution they make every day, and The Greater Shepparton Volunteer Recognition Awards provide the perfect opportunity for the wider community and Council to formally say thank you to local volunteers for the work they do.”

2021 Young Volunteer Award: Tom Saxton

Tom gives his time freely at a local, state and national level to provide a strong youth voice for Greater Shepparton. He makes a difference through advocacy, leadership and championing young peoples’ voices. Tom’s passion and commitment to our community, as a whole, is contagious. Tom believes that volunteering is a privilege and that he gains so much more than he gives through his volunteering. Tom is humble, kind and a positive advocate for young people and the wider community.

2021 Adult Volunteer Award: Severin Duhring

Severin has been a member of the Kiwanis Club of Mooroopna for 34 years. He was the driving force behind the club building the Kiwanis Station and Kiwanis Workshop at KidsTown. He has also been involved with the Kiwanis TERFFIC kid and Build a Bike programs, which have given primary school students hands on skills and a sense of achievement. He worked with others in establishing the Mooroopna Men’s Shed and has been a volunteer mentor driver with the L2P Program. Through this, Severin has assisted eight young people get the 120 hours of practice needed to get their licence, which in turn help then be independent and in many cases gain employment.

2021 Team Volunteer Award: Shepparton Foodshare

During the peak of Covid-19, Shepparton Foodshare saw a number of programs, agencies and schools close down. Its volunteers stood up to these changes and embraced them with a positive attitude and commitment to ensure those in need received support. Through the support of its volunteers, Shepparton Foodshare were able to remain open to service the few agencies and programs that were still running. Without volunteer support this would not have been possible, meaning a large number of individuals and families would have gone hungry throughout this period.

2021 Long Serving Volunteer Award:

Geoff Long

Geoff’s commitment to the people of the Goulburn Valley is reflected in his many volunteering roles. His Rotary philosophy of ‘service before self’ has driven his devotion and loyalty for more than 40 years. As a very active member of Rotary, Geoff is instrumental in the fundraising of thousands of dollars each year. Geoff is a quiet achiever and although his week is busy with both volunteer work and part time employment, he is always exploring opportunities where he can to assist and support others in the community.

Gwen Wallace

At 93, Gwen is a standout volunteer who has contributed to the wider community over many years. Gwen has given tirelessly to the community, touching the lives of others through her kindness and generosity. Gwen enjoys bringing joy to others and goes out of her way to do so. One of her fellow volunteers said “Gwen is like the Grandmother everyone wants, she has a heart of pure gold and makes everyone feel special. She has a special gift of brightening everyone’s day and bringing out the best in people”. Gwen’s commitment to serving her community is a wonderful example of how one person can make a difference.

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