Volunteer appreciation

Hard working volunteers Fiona Blizzard, Julie Bernhagen, Brian Neilson and Annette Dawes, along with community member Mary Allen (pictured below), were honoured at a special presentation hosted by Rotary Club of Smithton on Saturday evening.

Grateful. It’s a wonderful world we live in when invaluable volunteers contribute so selflessly.

Following the success of the Rotary International Tasmanian Conference, the Smithton club hosted an evening to thank its volunteers and make a few special announcements.

Held at Smithton Country Club on Saturday, three Paul Harris Fellows were presented to Annette Dawes, Fiona Blizzard and Brian Neilson while Julie Bernhagen received a Sapphire Pin to add to her Paul Harris Fellow presented in 2014.

These Rotarians wholeheartedly take on the motto of ‘Service Above Self’ as they go about their daily lives.

Annette uses her talents to complement her community mindedness and help out in any way she can, from emceeing the conference to being part of the much loved Bawdy Banquet, which through comedy gigs raised more than half a million dollars for the community over 30 years.

Annette has been front and centre at events such as the Australia Day celebrations and Christmas carols. At fundraisers like Relay for Life, many will remember being accosted by Frangipani Annie, however Annette’s most lasting legacy will likely be the immensely positive impact she has on the youth of Circular Head.

As the wife of Rotary Tasmania District Governor Gerard Blizzard, Fiona’s involvement has been as a right hand woman in many ways as well as contributing significantly in her own right.

Fiona’s love affair with the youth exchange program has seen her on the state committee for five years as well as play host mum to numerous visiting youth.

Fiona has in the past been conference secretary and helped in organising registrations and the Saturday night function.

Joining Rotary 15 years ago, Brian has held various positions within the club including president, secretary, treasurer, fundraising, fellowship and sergeant. Brian has worked through two conferences and this year was conference secretary, a role that cannot be overstated. Brian’s input and banter were an important and valued aspect of the event, and the club in general.

Instrumental in the success of the recent conference as chair, Julie’s contribution of endless hours to the club extends to the Devil Country Muster, where her expertise in organisational intricacies has been invaluable to the event. The annual Christmas parade is another which Julie throws her spirit into, and she has also quietly helped families in need through accessing grants for packs to be distributed to those affected by the downturn in the dairy industry.

Also honoured on the evening, was Mary Allen who was presented a Vocational Service Award, for someone who displays outstanding qualities in terms of approach, dedication, attitude and commitment to service vocation, and through such has rendered outstanding service to the community.

Through her work at the Circular Head Community and Recreation Centre, Mary has become a great friend of Rotary. The club attributes much of the success of the Devil Country Muster to Mary and her efforts in ensuring the facility is prepared before the event and pristine following.

National Volunteer Week is from May 8 to 14. During this time Circular Head Council invites local volunteers for a light meal in appreciation of the service to the community, on Wednesday May 10, 5.30pm at the Circular Head Community and Recreation Centre. RSVP by 10am Monday May 8 by phoning Yvonne Stone on 6452 4864 or emailing ystone@circularhead.tas.gov.au.

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