Merimbula-based volunteer Daryl Dobson has been named both 2022 South Coast Senior Volunteer of the Year and overall South Coast Volunteer of the Year.
The recognition is part of the NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards which are run by The Centre for Volunteering to acknowledge the outstanding effort of volunteers working across all sections of communities throughout the state.
The awards are recognition for 20 years of volunteering with Pambula Rotary where Daryl has helped to design and build walkways and access points, toilets and amenity blocks and a community hall.
He has also manned endless barbecues and markets in support of Rotary's work but perhaps most significantly much of his recent volunteering has centred around supporting people and communities impacted by the recent bushfires.
Daryl said he was very surprised to receive the overall award.
"Everyone is a volunteer and it makes you humble. You don't do for the awards, you do it because you want to," Daryl said.
"For the last two years what some people have been through after the bushfires has been terrible," Daryl said of his most recent volunteer work.
He said many bushfire affected people felt they had been forgotten, after the virus took over the headlines.
In autumn 2021 Pambula Rotary received $151,000 from the Church of the Latter Day Saints in Sydney to help with bushfire recovery.
In the past year Daryl has been Pambula Rotary leader of a team responsible for installing 22,000 litre water tanks on 64 properties in the Bega Valley.
Not only were water tanks required but often septic tanks because the fires were so hot even underground tanks melted and concrete septics cracked.
He has also been constructing and installing 6x7m sheds with a toilet and shower for people who have been living without sanitation since the bushfires, from Cobargo through to Kiah and including Rocky Hall and Wyndham.
In the past year Daryl was the key organiser of a charity golf day that raised $32,000 for the community. The money was used community health projects, equipment for Towamba RFS, the PCYC Fit for Life program and the Social Justice Advocates homelessness support initiatives.
He looks after the Pambula Cemetery, ensuring it is mowed regularly. The money received from council for the work goes to Pambula Rotary which puts it back into the community.
In support of his award, Lynne Koerbin of Pambula Rotary said Daryl's impact on the community was significant.
"His very practical advice at a local level directly assists individuals, families and Rotary, as well as the broader community.
The Centre for Volunteering CEO Gemma Rygate said volunteers from across the region continue to give so much of their time and energy to help make their local community a better place.
"They help to build healthy, resilient, and inclusive communities by bringing people together and connecting them with services across health, education, and community sectors."
NSW Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services Natasha Maclaren-Jones said she was proud of the "amazing effort and ongoing commitment that we see each year from the 4.9 million volunteers who selflessly give their time across NSW".
The awards are supported by principal partners the NSW Department of Communities and Justice and ClubsNSW, which represents the state's 1400 not-for-profit clubs.
Regional finalists for the awards are announced at 25 local ceremonies throughout NSW and are invited to the Gala State Ceremony for the announcement of the 2022 NSW Volunteer of the Year around International Volunteer Day in December.
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