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2010 NSW Volunteer of the Year Winners Announced

Wadalba’s Graham Symes has been named the 2010 NSW Volunteer of the Year in recognition of his dedication establishing and running the Traffic Offenders Program (TOPS) at a prestigious function held at Parliament House on Friday, 3 December 2010.

The annual Award program recognises the efforts and achievements of volunteers across NSW, with 48 Regional Individual, Youth and Senior Volunteer Winners, 19 Regional Volunteer Team Winners and six Employee Volunteers, gathering from across New South Wales for the announcement of the 2010 NSW Volunteer of the Year winner by Minister for Volunteering, the Hon. Peter Primrose, and an additional six award winners, presented by the Hon. Michael Veitch, MLC.

Over the past 18 years, Graham has positively impacted thousands of lives through Seven Hills’ Traffic Offenders Program (TOPS). Designed by Graham, TOPS is a seven week educational program that covers spinal injury awareness and drug and alcohol use.

Graham set up the Traffic Offenders Program in 1992 after a concern for the increasing fatalities and accidents on our roads. Graham was an ambulance officer and knew all to well the tragic reality of the situation and wanted to do something positive to impact that.

Fast forward eighteen years and over 11,000 people have completed the program and over forty courts regularly refer offenders to Graham’s program.

Graham currently travels from the Central Coast’s Wadalba to Seven Hills where the program is held, staying overnight every week at his own expense.

Each offender must submit an assignment for each lecture and Graham marks each individual one. In eighteen years Graham has marked over 77,000 assignments, which in itself is a worthy reason for receiving the 2010 NSW Volunteer of the Year award.

Graham received a $1500 donation for the Traffic Offenders Program (in addition to the $300 donation he received as a Regional Winner), a trophy and a Men’s Stainless Steel Sports Watch valued at $450 generously donated by Seiko Australia.

Timothy Bayl of Epping was named the 2010 NSW Youth Volunteer of the Year for his work with the Australian Red Cross where he holds a leadership position on the NSW Youth Advisory Committee and the post of NSW Youth Representative. Timothy has also volunteered with the Red Cross Emergency Services and the Migrant Youth Orientation Program. His commitment to the goals of the Red Cross, as well as his drive to make it more accessible to other young people, has marked him out as a very special volunteer within the organisation. Tim received a $1000 donation to the Red Cross, a trophy and a Men’s Stainless Steel Sports Watch valued at $450 generously donated by Seiko Australia.

For the first time ever, two Highly Commended Awards were presented at the State level, one for Christaan Cartledge of Wollongong. Christaan was named the 2010 NSW Highly Commended Senior Volunteer of the Year in recognition of Chris’ work with SCARF Inc (Strategic Community Assistance to Refugee Families), with whom he has volunteered for five years. Chris developed a program that recycles IT software for refugee families with limited means that provides essential computer skills, as well as free access to the internet for a limited time. Chris received a donation of $500 for SCARF Inc and a trophy.

Bill Phippen of Picton was named the 2010 NSW Senior Volunteer of the Year Award. Bill has volunteered with Technical Aid to the Disabled (TAD) for the past thirty five years. Bill’s commitment and dedication to the work of the organisation – the creation and supply of custom built equipment for people with disabilities – has won the admiration of his colleagues. In over 35 years Bill has only missed a meeting of the board twice and on one of these occasions it was for the birth of his daughter. Since 1997 he has been President of the Board of the charity, as well as director of its fundraising arm, helping the work of over 250 volunteers operating in thirteen rural branches and cities throughout New South Wales. Bill received a donation of $1000 for Technical Aid to the Disabled, a trophy and a Men’s Stainless Steel Sports Watch valued at $450 generously donated by Seiko Australia.

Warrumbungle’s2WAR FM Volunteer Team was recognised as the 2010 NSW Highly Commended Volunteer Team of the Year. The 2WAR FM Volunteer Team at the Warrumbungle Community Broadcasting Association (WCBA) provides an essential information service to the community. Operating five days per week, from between fifteen to twenty hours per day, the station is manned by twenty-five volunteers. Over the past ten years the group has even purchased their own building and they continue to develop and improve programming with a strong emphasis on local content. The team received a $500 donation towards the WCBA and a trophy.

The Warrawong Community Kitchen Lunch Volunteer Team was named the 2010 NSW Volunteer Team of the Year. The team’s thirty-one volunteers are led by Donna Walsh and provide lunch for disadvantaged residents living within the community and surrounding areas, Monday to Thursday. They also provide comfort and a friendly ear to the people in the area in need of aid. Their work helps make the lives of those living in impoverished conditions more bearable. The Team received a $1000 donation for the Warrawong Community Kitchen, a trophy, State Team Winner pins and a Ladies Gold Plated Stainless Steel and Diamond Coutura Watch valued at $895 generously donated by SEIKO Australia.

Rodney Lowe of Alcoa Rolled Products Australia was named the 2010 NSW Employee Volunteer of the Year Award which recognises volunteers who are sponsored by their employers and released from employment to carry out volunteer activities. Rodney was recognised for his volunteer work with the Prostate Cancer Foundation Australia where he is part of their Ambassador Program. Rodney joined the program following his own personal experience with prostate cancer some 5 years ago. Rod has given many talks and presentations around the state in numerous locations over the past 4 years.

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