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Maroondah volunteers receive high praise for long-standing service

Published on 07 December 2018
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Maroondah City Council has publicly acknowledged the significant contribution of its long-serving volunteers at a special function held in their honour at Karralyka last night.

Maroondah Mayor Councillor Rob Steane said Council’s annual Volunteer Recognition Function on Wednesday 5 December was an opportunity to officially acknowledge the City’s wonderful volunteers who help Council to deliver important services and activities to the community.

“All Maroondah Council volunteers were invited to this special ceremony in recognition of the important role they play in giving their time, energy, skills and talents to enable us to provide much-needed community services,” Cr Steane said.

“Council has more than 400 volunteers who generously give their time towards helping in areas such as Meals on Wheels, bushland and reserve management, social support services and the committees of sporting and community groups,” he said.

Awards were presented to 23 volunteers in recognition of their extended periods of service – ranging from 10 to 35 years.

Bill Wilkins OAM, one of Council’s Freeman of the City, received a special commendation in recognition of more than 75 years of volunteering in Maroondah.

“Bill has been a stalwart of the Maroondah Community taking on volunteer roles as a Councillor and leadership roles in many community groups including Scouts, East Ringwood Cricket Club, Ringwood District Cricket Association and Lionsbrae just to name a few,” Cr Steane said.

“He has recently announced his retirement from Council’s Maroondah Partners in Wellbeing Committee, which he has chaired for the past 17 years,” Cr Steane said.

“No words can adequately explain the commitment he has shown to the Maroondah community. His leadership has certainly inspired generations of service agencies and volunteers to contribute to the health and wellbeing of our community,” Cr Steane said.

Cr Steane also announced the introduction of a new annual award - The Bill Wilkins Volunteer of the Year Award - which will begin in 2019 and recognise others who go above and beyond in their commitment to helping others in our community.

Cr Steane said it was important for Council to recognise the contribution of our long-standing volunteers.

“Such long-term loyalty to volunteering highlights the obvious level of satisfaction and fulfilment that Council’s volunteers receive,” he said.

“A particular highlight was the presentation of awards to three of our longest-serving volunteers, Penelope Willey, Neil Tull and Patricia Manson.

“Both Penelope Willey and Patricia Manson have assisted our Meals on Wheels program for 35 years and 30 years, respectively, while Neil Tull has contributed 35 years’ service to the Cheong Park Committee of Management,” Cr Steane said. 

For Penelope and Patricia, Meals on Wheels has improved from the early days in the 1980s.

“We used to transport soup and would have to ladle it out to clients. Back then, people didn’t have a menu to choose from, but they were just happy to receive whatever meal it was,” Penelope said.

“I like the fact that because of Meals on Wheels, people can stay in their own homes; it’s where they’re most comfortable and happy to be.

“You make friendships and get to know their families as well. It’s also a way for us to check in on them and see that they’re ok,” she said.

Patricia said being fortunate in not having to work her whole life, volunteering was her way of “giving back”.

“For me, volunteering has been a pleasure and a privilege. There’s nothing better than seeing them (clients) smile when you drop off a meal. Sometimes we may be the only person they see all day,” she said.

Cr Steane said many of the Council-run services where volunteers participate would simply not be possible without this level of support.

“Whether it’s delivering a meal, getting people out and about who might otherwise be feeling isolated, or helping to maintain and care for our bushland reserves, Maroondah volunteers provide their service for no reward other than knowing they are helping someone and contributing to the greater good of the community.

“Time is a valuable commodity in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. But time is something that Maroondah volunteers are willing to offer every day as they help their fellow community members, and for this we are truly indebted to each and every one of them,” Cr Steane said.

The Volunteer Recognition Function was held on International Volunteer Day, an annual event on 5 December celebrating volunteers worldwide.

The theme for 2018 is ‘Volunteers build resilient communities’, with a special focus on local community volunteers who contribute to making their communities more resilient.

To find out how you can make a rewarding and valuable contribution to the Maroondah community through volunteering, call Council on 1300 88 22 33 or visit our Volunteering page

Volunteer Recognition Function photos


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