After tallying the votes carefully, we are pleased to announce the winners of our Volunteer of the Year Award. Well done and thank you to everybody who got involved.
Hannah's Foundation, Drowning Prevention, Awareness & Support
Katherine Plint, is a fulltime volunteer Water Safety and Drowning Prevention advocate, works on social media, Coronial inquests, does media interviews and is a vital Peer Support Officer Nationally coordinating services, funerals and counselling referrals for families that have suffered a loss or injury by drowning.
Since 2008 Kat has attended and provided submissions for 82 inquests, authored the Brandi Allen Positive Choices Program, Life Jackets - Your seat belts on the water campaign and Put Your Hand up For Drowning prevention. She also coordinated flood recovery services to Grantham in 2011 as well the Back to school for Qld Kids Flood Appeal. Kat is the Founder of October 4th National Drowning Prevention, Awareness and Memorial Day as well as the Garden of Reflection with Ipswich City Council at Babes of Walloon, Walloon Park.
As a volunteer the past 8 years have provided many families across Australia with vital services to their families in their time of need. Kat Plint is a volunteer of the highest integrity, is honesty and a woman that is dedicated to her cause: To save other from drowning. I nominate her for Volunteer of the Year.
Tolga Bat Hospital
Jenny Maclean is an amazing individual. She has given up over 20 years of her life, turning her home into a bat hospital and giving up every minute of every day to rescuing, rehabilitating and releasing one of our most threatened and vital species in Australia.Jenny is possibly one of the most deserving people of an award like this, with the money she could go on to do even more amazing things, saving thousands of lives and indirectly by saving the bats, saving our rainforests and beautiful tropical north Queensland.I have known Jenny for only a short time in her amazing voluntary career running her bat hospital...And I can think of no one more deserving. Please vote for her, and help her save more lives!
Breaking down the barriers for rural patients in city hospitals"
Justine started the program in Jan 2013, assisting rural communities with disaster recovery and rural patients for 4 years. Justine "adopts" rural families travelling to city hospitals for medical treatment. Personally providing a friendly face, transport options, home cooked meals and invaluable information to assist them, to navigate their away around the "health system and services". Justine had established the community group "breaking down the barriers for rural patients in city hospitals" on Facebook to spread the word.
Australian Missing Persons Register
Nicole solely runs a facebook page with nearly 97.000 followers and also a website where the aim is to provide information about missing persons Australia wide. www.australianmissingpersonsregister.com She also offers support to the families and friends of missing loved ones. In 2012 she won the Queensland and Australian Spirit of Australia awards in the Community Spirit category for her tireless work in giving back to those in need. I would like to nominate her as she helped my family and we are where we are today because of her ongoing support and friendship.
Red Collar Rescue Biggenden
For Sharyn no animal is to much effort. Every animal big or small deserves a better life and she along with her husband Russell and other volunteers makes sure they save every one they can.
Worldwide Lyme Borreliosis Association
Karen Smith has been involved with Lyme awareness and advocacy for five years. Even though she is still under treatment herself, she puts her available energy into helping people not only in Queensland, but around Australia and the world. On the Australian front, in 2012 Karen founded Lyme Australia Recognition and Awareness (website) and started a support group, Lyme Australia & Friends, which quickly grew to be the biggest support group in Australia for Lyme patients. In 2013 she signed Australia up to be involved in the Worldwide Awareness efforts and after seeing the need for further connections , co-founded the Worldwide Lyme Borreliosis Association (WLBA), with an American friend / Lyme advocate, Lisa Hilton. WLBA was officially incorporated in Queensland in August 2014, and plans to be register as a charity organisation, with numerous branches around the world. It’s work includes connecting / supporting patients in over 30 countries around the world, the founding of Red Shoe Day (25th July), an international memorial day to remember all those lost to invisible illnesses, and founding of Theda’s Foundation : to assist patients and carers around Australia living with invisible illness. Karen really does give advocacy and helping others her all.
Tree Roo Rescue and Conservation Centre Ltd
Karen and her husband Neil have been wildlife carers for the past 25 years and started to rescue and care for injured Tree kangaroos over 15 years ago when moving to Malanda, where Karen also studied for her PhD on Lumholtz tree kangaroos, the 3rd study ever on the species and currently the most comprehensive and most recent. The numbers of injured or displaced tree kangaroos has been increasing over the last few years and it was becoming too expensive for Karen and Neil to continue without help so they decided to set up Tree Roo Rescue and Conservation Centre as a non profit (in 2012) to allow them to accept well needed donations and to build bigger facilities and the first tree kangaroo hospital in the World. Karen has also had a set back in having a heart attack a few years back but she tried not to let that slow her down, getting along on medications, but she does have her bad days. They have had increasing numbers of animals coming in with over 26 in the past 12 years. They currently have 7 in care (up to 14 at one time) and they need the money to help care for these and for more in the future along with education and research into these amazing creatures. Karen also has a vision of an annual Tree Kangaroo festival to increase awareness. Please vote for Karen and help her and Neil help our Australian Tree kangaroos.
Foundation for Angelman Syndrome Therapeutics
Jen is first and foremost a wife and mother, a tough role in itself, however its Jens volunteer work that she does despite the challenges her family faces that sets her apart. Jen’s youngest daughter, Lucy, has Angelman Syndrome, a rare neurogenetic condition that affects every aspect of her life. In 2008, shortly after her daughter’s diagnosis, Jen helped to establish the first National Research Charity for the condition
Jen will answer the phone to new families, meet them for coffee and help to guide along a pathway that was not there for her. She retrained herself to learn the aspects of governance, finances and managing a charity and has inspired others to join the cause. Jen volunteers tirelessly, on top of her full time work, to help raise awareness and funds for research and to help unite other families affected by the condition building a better future for not only Lucy, but all families faced with the Syndrome.
Rescued With Love
"Since 2003, Kae Norman has been tirelessly working to achieve a vision of a better life for the thousands of abandoned and unwanted companion animals in Victoria. Kae’s organization, Rescued With Love, focuses on rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming small dogs, including the ones that other rescue groups won’t or can’t take – the old and the disabled." Most recently we have heard of her in the news, as she collected signatures on a petition and aims to shut down the LDH which has a drastically high euthanasia rate, and in reconnecting a soldier with the dog he had to leave to go serve.
Tangaroa Blue Foundation