Congratulations to the winners of the 2023 Volunteer of the Year awards!
Local volunteers representing volunteer organisations from across the Shire of Augusta Margaret River came together on Tuesday 5 December to celebrate the collective contribution they make to the region.
Held in conjunction with International Volunteer Day, the Shire of Augusta Margaret River hosted the annual event as an opportunity to recognise and thank volunteers in the shire. With the support of several local businesses, volunteers and their families were treated to complimentary canapes, beverages, gifts and prizes, and enjoyed live music by Si&B.
A highlight of the evening was the presentation of the 2023 Volunteer and Youth Volunteer of the Year Awards. Seven nominations for the 2023 Volunteer of the Year Award and two nominations for Youth Volunteer of the Year Award were received from members of the community. The panel which included Shire President Julia Meldrum and last year’s Volunteers of the Year Jan White and Gordon Temby, awarded the winner of the 2023 Volunteer of the Year to John Alferink.
John’s lifelong dedication to volunteering in the Margaret River district spans an impressive 55 years as a firefighter. He is also a founding member of the Margaret River Historical Society, where he imparts his knowledge to school groups and is a mentor to visiting historians. John has also been an instrumental volunteer for the Agriculture Society and has been a leading force at the Lions Club. John is highly respected for his commitment, punctuality and work ethic, and serves as a true inspiration to others.
Certificates of appreciation were also awarded to Cristine Wilder, Diana Heaford, John O’Dwyer, Loris Park, Luke Johnston and Petrina Yates, who were nominated for their countless hours in contributing to the success of various community organisations.
The 2023 Youth Volunteer of the Year was awarded to both Joshua Yates and Tom Gorta.
Joshua Yates is a dedicated volunteer who already boasts several years of experience in the SES, helping with call outs, software implementation, servicing equipment and delivering training. He is also an active volunteer in the Fire Brigade and a volunteer coach and referee for the Margaret River Football Club. His love of photography and cinematography has seen him contribute to several events and promotions and he is also a regular volunteer at the Margaret River HEART.
Tom Gorta has been an integral part of the Margaret River Hockey Club as a player, coach and umpire. Tom’s dedication to teaching young players, boosting their confidence, and providing support both on and off the field is highly commendable. Tom also actively participates in various fundraising events, demonstrating his commitment to the club’s overall success. Tom serves as an inspirational role model, encouraging players to give their best and emphasises the importance of enjoying the sport. Tom’s impact on and off the pitch underscores his significant contributions to the Margaret River sporting community.
Shire President Julia Meldrum expressed her gratitude to all the community members who took the time to nominate a volunteer and to everyone who volunteers in our community and makes a difference in so many ways. The Shire also expressed thanks to the local businesses who generously donated wine, gifts and prizes to give volunteers the night they deserved.
To find out more about volunteering in the Shire of Augusta Margaret River.
Image by Ovis Creative. Back row (L to R): John O’Dwyer, Diana Heaford, Petrina Yates, Shire President Julia Meldrum, Cristine Wilder, John Alferink. Front row: Tom Gorta, Joshua Yates, Luke Johnston. Absent: Loris Park