Fay Kerkow, a Wondai woman regarded as the “volunteer’s volunteer”, was named the South Burnett’s Volunteer Of The Year at the region’s Australia Day Awards on Wednesday night.
Fay is probably best known as a volunteer for the South Burnett Junior league, holding down the role of treasurer for the Wondai/Proston JRL and helping out at all the clubs when she is at their grounds.
But she is also a volunteer with Meals on Wheels, the Wondai Show, the ladies tennis club and the Wondai Garden Expo, and is a major contributor to Wheatlands State School’s fundraising efforts.
Whether it is running stalls or canteens, setting up, cooking, selling raffle tickets or simply picking up rubbish, if there is fundraising to happen, Fay is involved regardless of the size of the project.
The Volunteer Of The Year Award was presented by Federal Member for Maranoa David Littleproud.
Other nominees for the Volunteer Of The Year Award were:
- Rhonda Trivett – Rhonda, from Kingaroy, has turned her own life experiences into a deep commitment to help others, particularly South Burnett residents experiencing homelessness, addictions or mental health challenges. Rhonda founded the South Burnett Peace of Mind organisation and is pursuing her dream of establishing a dedicated support facility in the region. She volunteers her time at a Drop-In Centre in Kingaroy, provides hot evening cuppas at Memorial Park, chairs and helps organise the annual White Dove Ball, provides 24/7 emergency help for those in need, and organises mental health programs, discos and annual sleepovers to help support those in need.
- Elaine Madill – Elaine, from Wondai, has run the Wondai Regional Art Gallery for the past 10 years. She also organises the monthly Wondai Markets and annual Wondai Christmas Carols, and is the founder and organiser of the Wondai Business Breakfasts and the Wondai Ladies Lunch Group. She is a member of the South Burnett And Cherbourg On Show committee, the South Burnett Rail Trail committee, the Reconciliation Fun Run committee, the Charlotte the Emu committee, the RADF management committee, the Southern Queensland Country Tourism tourism reference group, and is the Steward of Fine Arts for the Wondai Show Society.
- Greg Day – Greg, from Wondai, moved to the South Burnett in 2008 to set up his bobcat and excavating business. Soon afterwards he joined the McEuen Rural Fire Brigade, where he was worked to expand and develop it, particularly over the past six years. Greg rose from Equipment Officer to First Officer in a short time and takes his role very seriously, ensuring his team are well supported and that relationships and communication with other Rural Fire Brigade units and the QFES are up to date.
- Bevan Routledge – Bevan, from Murgon, has been a member of the Murgon Lions Club for the past 35 years!, and has served at the Lion Club’s monthly markets for the past 20 years. He is also one of the club’s volunteers who have mastered the art of assembling and disassembling the Lions Merry Go Round in just over an hour. Bevan currently serves as the club’s secretary and is also the District Youth Exchange Chairman, but he has held many other positions over the years as well. He is also a life member of the Blue Light Disco Association, the group that has been providing safe entertainment for young people in the Murgon district for the past 20 years.
- Jennifer Underwood – Jennifer. from Kingaroy has been volunteering her time to help South Burnett Relay for Life events such as the Dinner With The Captains. She challenged her employer, Kingaroy State High School, into doing more for this important fundraising program and has promoted and coordinated the school’s participation over the past two years. Starting with just two teams, the school’s involvement had grown to six Relay For Life teams in 2016, raising more than $7500. Jenny also coordinates KSHS students to work as volunteers setting up and serving dinner alongside TAFE students on the night.
- Cliff Seiler – Cliff is president of the South Burnett Show Society and over the last few years he has transformed the Kingaroy Showgrounds by instituting substantial, ongoing improvements and helped restore the Kingaroy Show to its former glory. Last year the Showgrounds hosted and fed 500 footballers in a tent city erected in the Showgrounds’ main ring, followed a few months later by another tent city for Relay For Life. And in conjunction with Kingaroy Rotary, he also helped save the popular Friendship Markets by helping them relocate to a new home near Cheers Triangle inside the Showgrounds.
- Gary Barron – Gary has been working with Cliff Seiler and the South Burnett Show Society, and has been instrumental in renewing the Kingaroy Show and delivering substantial improvements to Kingaroy’s Showground facilities, helping to ensure that this important community asset continues to radiate benefits to Kingaroy and surrounding South Burnett towns.
- Val Wieland – Val, from Durong, has served the Durong and Boondooma community for more than 25 years. Since 1991 Val has served has a volunteer librarian supporting the Durong and Boondooma community with library services. She has also audited and prepared financial records for the Durong Hall Committee, Boondooma Homestead, the Green Frogs Girl Guides and the Burrandowan Campdraft, and has been treasurer of the Durong South State School P&C Association for the past 13 years.
- Merle Richards – Merle, from Nanango, has been volunteering her time and talents to the Nanango Rugby League junior and senior football clubs for the past 37 years. She is also a very popular local caterer and her services have been regularly used for fundraising events such as Daffodil Day, the Nanango Races, and church events in Nanango and Kingaroy. Merle is also a member of the Elgin Vale QCWA and has helped organise the Manumbar Campdraft for the past 15 years, and at 76 still works the barbecues at the campdraft and on race days.