Wodonga has rolled out the red carpet to formally thank the volunteers who do so much for so many on both sides of the border.
The 2022 Wodonga Volunteer of the Year Awards, held at Hyphen – Wodonga Library Gallery, recognised some of the many individuals and groups that work quietly behind the scenes to improve the lives of people in their community.
The winners and nominees were celebrated at the gala evening – the first time the awards have been held in person since the outbreak of COVID-19.
Wodonga Mayor Kev Poulton said it was a tough challenge to find winners among so many outstanding nominees.
“Not all heroes wear capes … some heroes just quietly get on with helping others, supporting the vulnerable or needy, making our community and sporting organisations even better, or simply lend a helping hand to those who need it most – and those people are our volunteers,” he said.
The 2022 Volunteer of the Year Award winners are:
The Bryan Watson Individual Volunteer of the Year Award: Dual winners – Glenn Mackinnon and Michael McLinden.
Glenn is being recognised for his role with the Junction Support L2P program, which helps young people facing barriers to log the 120 hours they need behind the wheel to get their probationary licences.
He drives at least five hours a week, works full time in the NDIS industry at Mercy Connect and when he finds free time, he travels to Nepal to volunteer in eye clinics.
Michael McLinden has more than 40 years’ experience as a volunteer firefighter. It’s been said by his CFA colleagues that it’s impossible to calculate how much life and property in Wodonga, Michael has protected and that he still continues to be Wodonga West Fire Brigade’s most active responder.
Also, he recently retired as a trustee of the Wodonga Lawn Cemetery Trust, has been involved in raising money to build facilities for disabled or underprivileged members of the community and has also found time to support the Wodonga Catholic Parish by visiting the sick, as well as other worthy efforts.
The Wodonga Volunteer Team of the Year: The Wodonga Men’s Shed.
Recently named the best men’s shed in Australia, this group does outstanding work not only in making and repairing items for the community to use but also in developing camaraderie and mateship among its members, helping them to be mentally and physically active and supportive of each other.
Obstacles are seen as challenges at the shed and an example of the great things they do can be seen in the work they do at the Belvoir Special School – such as building a kennel for the school’s comfort dog – and helping the students to grow and learn.
The Two Cities One Community Award: Albury Wodonga Regional Foodshare.
This cross border service is delivered by more than 100 volunteers who recover food from more than 70 suppliers so it can then be distributed to local people suffering hardship.
Over the past year, FoodShare’s volunteers have collectively distributed food to more than 48,000 people across Albury, Wodonga and surrounding communities – all done within the challenging circumstances of COVID-19
The Mayoral Award Volunteer of the Year: Heather Watts.
Heather is a champion for women’s health, notably establishing a trust to fund research to improve and prolong the lives of women with ovarian cancer.
Among the fund-raising events that Heather’s organised is an annual motorcycle ride with the Albury Harley Hogs Motorcycle Club. Heather leads by example and has done a sterling job in encouraging people to come together for this very worthy cause.