2019 NSW Adult Volunteer of the Year: Robert Fitzgerald
December 5th, 2019
The volunteering resume of Blacktown Police Chief Inspector Bob Fitzgerald runs over several pages. It is a life of volunteering spanning the past 40 years.
However, it is the impact that Bob’s volunteering has had on so many people, organisations and his Western Sydney community that sets him apart.
His volunteer work as coach, administrator and event coordinator for netball, rugby league, Olympic and Paralympic events helps keep local sporting groups going, while also providing a link to the community to help battle social isolation, support victims of family and domestic violence, homelessness and drug addiction. His volunteering builds links between different and diverse communities.
One supporter sums up the volunteering impact of the full-time police chief inspector and father of seven: “Bob leaves a legacy of significantly influencing positive and lasting change for women, children, and people from culturally and linguistically diverse groups and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities.
“He gives so much for Western Sydney – he’s a man of the people.”
Bob is a community leader, mentor, and advocate and is a fitting recipient of the 2019 NSW Adult Volunteer of the Year Award.
The Awards are in their 13th year and are an annual program run by The Centre for Volunteering to recognise the outstanding work of volunteers across NSW. They have grown to become one of the largest celebrations of volunteering across the country.
The Centre for Volunteering CEO Gemma Rygate said the Awards helped uncover so many incredible stories of community achievement and goodwill across every corner of the state.
“We hold these Awards to recognise the special effort made by people who choose to go above and beyond to help others and their local community,” Ms Rygate said.
“They also highlight the contribution of all our volunteers and the organisations they represent. The Awards give us the opportunity to hear their stories, be inspired by their actions and pass on our thanks.
“There is no better job, than being able to meet these special volunteers and celebrate their contribution.”
The 2019 NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards are supported by principal partners the NSW Department of Communities and Justice and ClubsNSW, which represents the state’s 1,400 not-for-profit clubs. They are also supported by Mint Awards and Thrifty Car & Truck Rentals.
NSW Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services Gareth Ward said the NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards were an important way to recognise the contribution of the 2.1 million volunteers working throughout NSW.
“Each and every one of today’s award recipients epitomise service above self,” Mr Ward said.
“Across the state, valuable volunteers are helping create stronger communities by generously dedicating countless hours to causes close to their heart.
“We can all learn a lot from hearing your stories and I congratulate all of you on your outstanding community service.”
ClubsNSW CEO Anthony Ball said that volunteers were the backbone of registered clubs.
“On behalf of an industry which relies upon 32,000 volunteers, I congratulate all of these deserving winners,” said Mr Ball.
“ClubsNSW is proud to be a principal partner of these awards, which recognise the huge contribution that volunteers make across the state.
“Clubs rely on volunteers to help make their venues a great place to socialise, which in turn adds billions of dollars to the NSW economy every year.”