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Volunteer of the Year Award 2015

Approximately fifty (50) volunteers and their coordinators, Cairns Regional Councilors and other luminaries enjoyed a buffet breakfast before the awards were presented – this year at Rydges Esplanade. The event was thoroughly enjoyed by all, and there were plenty of photo opportunities taken.

Table 1   Table 2

Speakers acknowledged the traditional owners of the land and paid respects to elders past and present. Services Coordinator Oni Vuniyaro welcomed all present to the event and acknowledged the enormous efforts volunteers contribute to the community. Thanks were also given to FNQ Volunteers staff, who are themselves volunteers, for their organization.

Craig Crawford MP for Barron River, relayed a message from Qld Premier Palaszczuk. ”National Volunteer Week is an important opportunity for everyone to recognize the generosity of the thousands of Queenslanders who volunteer. Our volunteers, time and time again, have selflessly and tirelessly put the well-being of others first. Whether it be braving life threatening floods, contributing to sporting clubs, school tuck-shops, or at local neighbourhood centers, Queenslanders from all ages and demographics show their true spirit every day lending a helping hand.”

Rev Doug Foster (seated) and Services Coordinator Oni Vuniyaro (giving welcome speech)

Rev Doug Foster (seated) and Services Coordinator Oni Vuniyaro (giving welcome speech)

Mr Crawford who was a Country Fire Association volunteer from 1987-2008 continued by thanking volunteers for their selflessness and generosity. “Volunteers are the often the core of our strong and resilient communities, and allow us to use and develop skills, while engaging with their community and helping others”.

This year volunteers from the Salvation Army, Mossman Community Centre, ARC Disabilities Services Inc., Career Employment Australia, Kuranda Conservation Community Nursery, Real Living Options, Marlin Coast Meals on Wheels, Leukaemia Foundation, and Kuranda EnviroCare were nominated. After all nominated volunteers received their National Volunteer Week certificates form Mr Crawford, Rev Doug Foster (FNQVI  Vice-President Board Member) announced the winners.

Runner-up: Margaret Scammell from Marlin Coast Meals on Wheels.

Margaret holds the Treasurer’s position at Marlin Coast MOW, but has been with the organisation for 15 years. Her past volunteering extended to meal cooking and planning, run–sheet administration and meal delivery, and has been past President and Treasurer. Margaret also volunteers with the Red Cross, University of the Third Age, and Probus.  “She is a calm, capable volunteer and a friend to us all” says current President Joann McClure.

Winner: Elsie Butler from Real Living Options (RLO).

Elsie was one of the founding members for RLO and has held secretarial, policy drafting and assisting the coordinator positions. She currently volunteers to review Strategic Planning, Internal Audits and other Governance documents. Elsie attends and conducts community workshops and information sessions, including keeping up to date with transitional trends to the National Disability Insurance Scheme.  “Much credit of what RLO is today must go to Elsie. She is tireless in her efforts, inclusive and co-operative in the ways she operates – rational, realistic, constructive, forward thinking. She treats people with respect and kindness” comments Mandy Nielsen Service Manager.  Real Living Options Association Inc. supports people with a disability to live independently in the community in the home of their choice.

Some nominees for the Volunteer of the Year Award along with Craig Crawford, Runner-up Margaret Scammell and Winner Elsie Butler

Some nominees for the Volunteer of the Year Award along with Craig Crawford, Runner-up Margaret Scammell and Winner Elsie Butler

“Volunteering is still the best job in town and is priceless” said Oni Vuniyaro, FNQVI Service Coordinator. “FNQ Volunteers would also like to sincerely thank all the media organisations, particularly the Cairns Sun, for their support, and the Rydges Esplanade for their continuing support of the event.”

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