Huon Valley News

Meet the Huon Valley’s 2021 Volunteer Service Award recipients

Eight outstanding members of the Huon Valley community were presented with Volunteer Service Awards last week at a ceremony held on Friday 21 May, during National Volunteer Week (17–23 May).

The Huon Valley Council Volunteer Service Awards are presented each year to recognise the people living locally who contribute their time and skills for the benefit of our community, often over many years.

“I can proudly say that we have many generous volunteers across the Valley who are part of the fabric of our way of life,” said Huon Valley Council Mayor Bec Enders. “It is because of our volunteers that the Huon Valley community is known for its compassion, vibrance and resilience.

“The Huon Valley Council Volunteer Service Awards is one way we give our volunteers the recognition they deserve.”

Council was pleased to have 2020 Outstanding Volunteer Service Award recipient Glynn Shevels join us as a guest speaker at this year’s ceremony.

Left: Libby and John Gillham, Lifetime Volunteer Service Award recipient. Right: Previous Outstanding Volunteer Service Award recipient Gylnn Shevels with Carolyn Booker and Barbara Dawson of the Palais Management Committee. 

“With Glynn in attendance, we were fortunately able to present his award in person, which had not been possible last year due to the pandemic,” said Cr Enders.

Congratulations to the highly deserving award recipients for 2021:

  • Lifetime Volunteer Service Award (more than 20 years’ service)
    • Robert “John” Gillham
  • Major Volunteer Service Award (5–10 years’ service)
    • Cassandra Faux
  • Volunteer Service Award (up to 5 years’ service)
    • Alice Toner-Brown
    • Andrea and Chris Leu
    • Jennifer Mathias
    • Geeveston Town Hall volunteers
    • Gaylene Bergman

Left: Mayor Bec Enders with Volunteer Service Award recipient and Huon Valley Council Infrastructure Design Engineer Jennifer Mathias. Right: Mayor Bec Enders with Volunteer Service Award recipient Gaylene Bergman.

“The Lifetime Volunteer Service Award is a new award, and we were delighted to present this to John Gillham, who has been volunteering in our community for more than 54 years,” said Cr Enders.

“John has provided ongoing support and service to our local people through the Lions Club of Huon since 1975, and has been actively involved in many various fundraising and community service activities.

“Congratulations, John, and thank you.”

Left: Geeveston Town Hall volunteers with Mayor Bec Enders and Deputy Mayor Sally Doyle. Right: Mayor Bec Enders with Alice Toner-Brown.

The Huon Valley Council is committed to safeguarding local volunteering now and into the future.

In collaboration with Volunteering Tasmania and community members, we have developed a draft Huon Valley Volunteering Strategy which includes key actions to encourage and support more people to volunteer locally.

From left: Strategic Manager for Volunteering Tasmania Amy Bailey, Huon Valley Council Mayor Bec Enders, CEO of Volunteering Tasmania Lisa Schimanski, Community Engagement Officer Lisa Plohl, Deputy Mayor Sally Doyle, Director Community Services Rebecca Stevenson, Acting General Manager Andrew Wardlaw and Councillor Christine Campbell.

The strategy is now open for comment on Have Your Say until 23 June 2021. We want to hear your feedback on the recommended actions.

“Please take ten minutes to review the draft strategy and Have Your Say on whether the actions included will be useful for our community. You will be helping to break down barriers and create opportunities for people to enter important and enriching volunteer roles.”

Feature image: Mayor Bec Enders with Lifetime Volunteer Service Award recipient John Gillham.

Introducing the 2021 Volunteer Service Award recipients

Lifetime Volunteer Service Award (more than 20 years’ service)

Robert “John” Gillham

John was nominated for his commitment to volunteering in Tasmania and in the Huon Valley community over 54 years.

He has been a member for the Lions Club of Huon since 1975, and during his 46 years at the club has held almost every position – secretary, treasurer and president.

John has been described as the glue that has kept the Club together, providing vital administration duties to help service the community.

John represented the Lions Club of Huon as Lions District Governor in 2009 and 2010, and has been a member of the Tasmanian Lions administration team for around 18 years.

John has received multiple prestigious fellowships with the Tasmanian Lions Foundation and Lions Club International.

John is a life member of the Australian Veterinary Association, and is also actively involved in the Tasmanian Family History Society.

John has always been an active Club member in our community, contributing to a wide variety of fundraising and community service activities.

Major Volunteer Service Award (5–10 years’ service)

Cassandra Faux

Cassy is the founder of the Geeveston Farmers Market, which she organised for two years from 2014 to 2016. This achievement led to Cassie becoming a valued organiser of the Geeveston Feast in 2016. This is a very much-loved community event attended by locals and visitors.

Cassie has also been involved in the Geeveston Progress Association and is a founding member of the recently formed Huon Valley Tourism Association.

Cassie works hard for the community of Geeveston and is very deserving.

Volunteer Service Award (up to 5 years’ service)

Alice Toner-Brown

Alice is an active volunteer in the community, contributing to a number of local events that bring people together.

She is the booking officer for the Franklin Palais Management Committee, and is the coordinator for the Franklin Folk Club and the Franklin Markets.

Alice’s excellent coordination of the popular Geeveston Feast is appreciated by the local community.

Alice is also the coordinator for the vegan community Christmas on the Franklin Foreshore, where everyone is welcome.

She also volunteers her time at the Judbury Market.

Alice’s upbeat and happy personality draws people to her. She says that she loves seeing the community happy and enjoying themselves, particularly following the impacts of COVID-19 and the summer 2019 bushfires.

Andrea and Chris Leu

Andrew and Chris Leu are a husband-and-wife team who joined the Huon Valley Council’s Gearing Up Program in August 2018 as mentor drivers.

The two have been stalwarts of the program ever since.

Andrea and Chris have outstanding patience and commitment as driving mentors. They go above and beyond the requirements of the program to give their learners the best environment and guidance for learning to drive.

In the last five months alone, Chris and Andrea have seen 11 of their leaners gain their provisional licence.

Jennifer Mathias

Jen has given up her lunch hour once a week since September 2018 to help disadvantaged people in the Huon Valley gain their driver licence.

Jen’s courage, patience and easy-going nature have made her a hit with the learner drivers in the Huon Valley Council’s Gearing Up program.

Jen’s outstanding mentorship is much appreciated by Council and the program participants.

Geeveston Town Hall volunteers

The Geeveston Town Hall volunteers have been nominated by the Geeveston Town Hall Company Board.

The entire team of outstanding volunteers have been working at the Geeveston Visitor Centre since it reopened on the 1st of July 2020.

The Geeveston Town Hall Company sought volunteer assistance in early June 2020 to re-open the Visitor Centre, with over 40 local people putting their hands up to help. Additional volunteers have been added to the roster since this initial uptake.

The volunteers provide valuable information to visitors to the area and help support local people whose artwork and products are sold at the Hall.

Importantly, they facilitate the use of the space by local groups and support many popular events to go ahead at the Hall, such as the miniature Christmas village display and the Twilight Feast.

The volunteers are also diligently cleaning and contract tracing to keep the Hall COVID-safe for everyone.

Many of the volunteers do additional volunteer work in the community, supporting a range of local events, programs and support services that being many benefits to the local people.

These volunteers put in a tremendous effort and we applaud them for their dedication to keeping the heart of Geeveston flourishing.

Gaylene Bergman

Gaylene continually supports residents at her local aged care facility in Dover.

Each week, come rain or shine, Gaylene turns up with a smile. She makes time to visit the residents who cannot attend all activities for a chat and a catch up.

She helps out with any activity, including driving during outings and supervising.

Gaylene also gives her time at the community hub in Dover, helping to sell local products.

She is a treasure to all who know her.