Outstanding volunteers from across the Orana region honoured at a special NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards ceremony

Volunteers from across the Orana region were today recognised for their outstanding contribution to volunteering in NSW at a special ceremony in Dubbo.

The NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards is an annual event run by The Centre for Volunteering and is the biggest celebration of volunteering across the country.

The NSW Volunteer of the Year Award recipients for the Orana region are:

Award Category Winner
Youth Volunteer of the Year Zac Cherry, St John Ambulance Australia – Orana Combined Division

from Dubbo

Adult Volunteer of the Year Samuel Swain, Taronga Western Plains Zoo

from Dubbo

Senior Volunteer of the Year Gordon Hill, Cobar Unit of the NSW SES

from Cobar

Volunteer Team of the Year
Beyond Barbed Wire Mentoring Program Volunteers, Barnados

from Wellington

Overall Regional Winner Gordon Hill, Cobar Unit of the NSW SES

from Cobar

The Centre for Volunteering CEO Gemma Rygate said volunteers from across the region have made an enormous contribution to the local community.

“Volunteers from across the area give their time helping in schools, hospitals, sports, the environment, and with so many community based organisations,” Ms Rygate said.

“They all give so much without asking for anything in return.

“It was so pleasing to recognise their outstanding efforts and also celebrate the special contribution of the volunteers chosen to represent the region in the State final of the NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards.”

At just 24 years of age Zac Cherry is the Deputy Superintendent of the St Johns Ambulance Orana Division and has already volunteered for a remarkable 270 hours in 2018. His work helping the local community earned him the the NSW Young Volunteer of the Year for the region.

The NSW Adult Volunteer of the Year for the Orana region Samuel Swain, has been volunteering at Taronga Western Plains Zoo for the past four years, doing everything possible to help visitors enjoy the iconic destination.

NSW Volunteer of the Year for the Orana region (left) with Coonamble Shire Mayor Cr Michael Webb

Gordon Hill was selected as the NSW Senior Volunteer of the Year and overall NSW Volunteer of the Year for the region for his 40 years of service to the SES supporting the local community during emergencies and times of need. Gordon has been an exception rescuer at the Cobar Unit as well a dedicated trainer and assessor.

The Beyond Barbed Wire Volunteer Mentors was selected as the NSW Volunteer Team of the Year for the Orana region. The program is run by Banardos and provides support for female prisoners at the Wellington Correctional Centre both during and after their incarceration. The 12 team members spend time with mothers to help strengthen their parenting skill, maintain strong bonds with their children and connect them with support services when they are released from goal.

The 2018 NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards is supported by principal partners the Department of Family and Community Services NSW and ClubsNSW, which represents the state’s 1,400 not-for-profit clubs. They are also supported by Etchcraft and Thrifty Car & Truck Rentals.

NSW Minister responsible for Volunteering, the Hon. Ray Williams, said the state’s 2.1 million volunteers contributed more than $5 billion to the NSW economy every year.

“Nominating local volunteers for an award or a certificate is a special way of saying thank you,” Mr Williams said.

“The fact that so many nominations were received this year is recognition of the amazing effort of volunteers across NSW who help build stronger communities.”

ClubsNSW CEO Anthony Ball said that volunteers were the backbone of registered clubs across NSW.

“ClubsNSW is very proud to support the NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards and every one of the amazing volunteers recognised today,” Mr Ball said.

“Clubs across NSW rely on 32,000 volunteers to help make their venues a vibrant and enjoyable experience,” Mr Ball said.

“They also contribute so much more to our wider community, adding billions of dollars to the NSW economy each year.”

You can see the event photos here.

The Centre for Volunteering would like to thank the generosity of the following organisations for their ongoing support of the NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards:


The NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards is an annual program launched in 2007 by The Centre for Volunteering to recognise the outstanding efforts of the 2 million+ volunteers in NSW, and to promote the importance of volunteering to the community.  The Awards are a celebration of the amazing commitment and achievements volunteers make in our communities and a chance for us to come together to give our thanks. The Awards acknowledge the efforts of thousands of volunteers, volunteer managers, volunteer involving organisations and corporates in bringing about social change through volunteering.