Overall Winner – 2014 Volunteer of the Year  Central West region

Stephanie Huysmans of Spring Hill Volunteers with the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS)

Gemma Rygate (left) & Stephanie Huysmans (right)
Gemma Rygate (left) & Stephanie Huysmans (right)

Stephanie’s dedication to the NSW Rural Fire Service is tireless. Her leadership qualities have seen her represent NSW RFS and NSW RFSA at the Australasia conference and she is sought after to work interstate. Stephanie was elected Captain of her Brigade in 2011 and was then elected to represent the Region West on the Young Member Group in 2013. Stephanie is currently serving as Chairperson of the Canobolas Branch, NSW. Stephanie advocates for young people to be actively involved in the RFS and is passionate about the importance of to the community. In addition to her RFS volunteering, Stephanie volunteers with her local soccer club and the Orange City Council Spring Hill Working Party.


2014 Student Volunteer of the Year

Winner: Bryce Ostini of Orange (aged 15) Volunteers with Cancer Council NSW.

Gemma Rygate (left) & Bryce Ostini (right)
Gemma Rygate (left) & Bryce Ostini (right)

Bryce, an Orange High School Student, has been an active member of the Cancer Council NSW. He volunteers for a number of activities and events helping with fundraising, event logistics, photography, and helps inspire others in his community. In the six years Bryce has volunteered with the Cancer Council NSW, he has helped with the Relay for Life, Australia?s Biggest Morning Tea, Pink Ribbon Day, Do it for Cancer events and the World’s Greatest Shave, which his bother also participated in. Though his volunteering, 15-year-old Bryce has raised more than $20,000.


2014 Youth Volunteer of the Year

Winner: Joanna Mackenzie of Bathurst Volunteer with Bathurst Information and Neighbourhood Centre

Joanna Mackenzie (left) & Gemma Rygate (right)
Joanna Mackenzie (left) & Gemma Rygate (right)

Joanna Mackenzie volunteers in nearly every facet of the Bathurst Information and Neighbourhood Centre (BINC). Her can-do attitude and approachable manner means Joanna is a go-to volunteer whether it is to help with administration, event management, or one-on-one technology tutoring for the elderly and those with a disability. Her achievements include helping place 140 paramedic students in volunteer roles, which was a requirement to complete their degrees. Additionally, she also helps members with tasks like helping to study for a driving test. Joanna’s commitment to volunteering is above and beyond expectations, and everyone that comes into contact with really appreciates and benefits from her commitment to the community.


2014 Adult Volunteer of the Year

Winner: Stephanie Huysmans of Spring Hill Volunteers with the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS)

Please see Overall Winner for description.


2014 Senior Volunteer of the Year

Winner: Gillian Date of Kelso Volunteer with Lifeline, Central West.

Gillian Date (left) & Gemma Rygate (right)
Gillian Date (left) & Gemma Rygate (right)

Gillian is a quintessential volunteer – empathetic, dedicated, selfless and enthusiastic. Gillian has given 18 years of voluntary service to Lifeline Central West, as both a supervisor and telephone counsellor for Telephone Crisis supporters (TCS). During Gillian’s shifts, Lifeline receives many calls from people considering suicide. Gillian helps the TCS team make the right judgements when counselling people in these difficult circumstances. Gillian spends a lot of time educating and training volunteers to ensure that callers feel valued, listened to and better equipped to deal with their presenting crisis. Gillian’s experience and professional approach gives the group valuable insights and strategies to handle difficult calls and achieve positive outcomes. Volunteering is a way of life for Gillian, who has volunteered at various community organisations for the past 50 years.


2014 Volunteer Team of the Year

Winner: Bathurst Seymour Centre Volunteers (represented by Tina Fitzpatrick).

Team Winner - Bathurst Seymour Centre with Mayor of Bathurst, Gary Rush (right)
Team Winner – Bathurst Seymour Centre with Mayor of Bathurst, Gary Rush (right)

The Bathurst Seymour Centre is a day care and respite centre for older people who are frail, aged, people with a disability and their carers who live in the Bathurst area. The team of 47 volunteers helps people in the region live independently and be part of community life. This includes organising a range of activities that enhance community participation and personal wellbeing including exercise groups, computer tutoring as well as being a friend and lending a listening ear. This group is an innovative and dedicated group who have a positive impact on clients’ lives on a daily basis.


Honour Roll of Nominees

2014 Youth Volunteer of the Year

  • Jack McGrath of Parkes who volunteers with St John’s Ambulance, the Rural Fire Service (RFS) and the State Emergency Services (SES).

2014 Adult Volunteer of the Year

  • Mick Boller of Lue who volunteers with Mudgee Amateur Softball Association.
  • Kathy Langtry of Mudgee who volunteers with Mudgee Dragons Rugby League Club – GROUP 10.

2014 Senior Volunteer of the Year

  • Graeme Eggleston of Orange who volunteers with Camp Quality.
  • Ruth Large of Dunedoo who volunteers with a number of organisations within the Central West region.
  • Yvonne MacRae of Orange who volunteers with Girl Guides Association (NSW).

2014 Volunteer Team of the Year

  • Kathryn Breward four volunteers who make up the Regional Services Processing Team.
  • Peter Herman and the volunteers who make up the Peakhill fm 89.5 team.
  • Jean Fell and two hundred or so hundred volunteers who make up the Bathurst Information & Neighbourhood Centre Inc. team.