Five of Western Australia’s outstanding emergency services volunteers have been announced as finalists in the 2018 WA Volunteer of the Year Awards.
The awards pay tribute to the individuals and organisations whose selfless contributions benefit their community as well as inspiring and promoting the spirit of volunteering.
Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) Manager Strategic Volunteer and Youth Programs Jennifer Pidgeon said volunteers were an integral part of DFES and each of the finalists were very deserving of recognition.
“Our volunteers across the emergency services generously donate their time to attending emergency incidents at any time of the day or night, as well as spending countless hours on training and supporting their communities,” Jennifer said.
“I congratulate our five finalists and thank them for their valuable contribution in keeping the people of Western Australia safe.”
Founding member of Whitfords Volunteer Marine Rescue Service (VMRS) and former Commander Ken Blackie is a finalist in the prestigious WA Volunteer of the Year category.
Ken has attended countless incidents in his 47 years of service, supported and mentored all members of Whitfords VMRS and generously bestowed his expertise and knowledge of boating to not only the unit but also the local community and stakeholders.
Finalists in the WA People’s Choice ‘Spirit of Volunteering’ Award are Rodney O’Donnell from Brunswick Junction Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service (VFRS) and the Juvenile and Family Fire Awareness (JAFFA) program, and Timothy (Sean) O’Brien from Bayswater State Emergency Service (SES).
A volunteer for over 30 years, Rodney provides a wealth of experience when attending incidents, and his involvement with the JAFFA program sees him educating children who have experimented with fire on the dangers and consequences. Rodney also provides a great deal of emotional support to his volunteer mates through the DFES Peer Support Program.
Sean has been a member of Bayswater SES for 10 years and is the Deputy Manager of the group. Along with attending incidents and putting his hand up to assist the unit at every opportunity he is a dedicated trainer and assessor, and has devoted nearly 5,500 hours to his time to volunteer service since 2011.
Gingin VFRS Service Captain Nicole Woods is a finalist in the WA Excellence in Volunteer Management category after taking over the reins of the service during a difficult time for the brigade.
Her determination to improve morale and increase member numbers has led to Gingin VFRS becoming a more sustainable service with greater capacity to support their community.
Secret Harbour VFRS’ Luke Summerton is a young volunteer who joined as a 16 year old and over the past eight years has attended many difficult and challenging incidents as well as taking on many roles and responsibilities in the unit.
He is a finalist for the WA Youth Volunteer of the Year award as he displays experience and dedication to the Secret Harbour community beyond his years.
The recipients in the eight categories will be announced on Thursday 24 May at a Gala Awards Dinner.