The region's selfless community service volunteers were recognised on Tuesday at the New England Volunteer Awards in Armidale during National Volunteer Week.
More than 30 locals were nominated for either the Armidale Volunteer Referral Service (AVRS) Awards or the Alwyn Jones Community Service Award.
Armidale Regional Council Mayor Ian Tiley said the awards provided an opportunity to celebrate the many volunteers who dedicate their lives to helping others.
"We had a record list of volunteers nominated this year, and I would like to personally thank them all for everything they do for our region," he said.
"Volunteers are the fabric of our community, so it is important to let them know they are valued and that their efforts are appreciated."
The AVRS Adult Volunteer of the Year recipient was Michael Kean who was recognised for his contribution to the 2ARM community radio station.
"Michael has helped the station adapt to changes in technology and is working on ensuring the station stays relevant through introducing podcasting and smart speakers," Cr Tiley said.
"He also facilitated the replacement of the ageing studio equipment and came up with outstanding solutions during the COVID-10 lockdown when announcers had to work from home."
Brian Flint was named the AVRS Senior Volunteer of the Year for his dedication to the Armidale PCYC.
Mr Flint took over the running of the weights section in 1965, and to this day he still continues to train people and maintain the gym.
"Volunteering most weekends and afternoons, his volunteer work ranges from repair work to the club, driving the after school bus, assisting in the running of the monthly markets and any other fundraiser that is run on a weekend," Cr Tiley said.
In addition to being named the AVRS Senior Volunteer of the Year award, Brian Flint was also awarded the Alwyn Jones Community Service Award for his 60 years of service to the PCYC.
The AVRS Volunteer Team of the Year is Armidale & Uralla Meals on Wheels.
"The team of volunteers at Meals on Wheels have worked tirelessly over the past year to continue to deliver throughout the COVID-19 pandemic," Cr Tiley said.
"More than 200 volunteers help deliver meals each day, and provide a valuable service to vulnerable and isolated people within our community."
Food Blessings which is a team-based ministry providing food and hampers to those in need and the AVRS Excellence in Volunteer Management went to Bruce Stuart in recognition of his work with the organisation.
"Bruce has devoted several years to growing Food Blessings into a vibrant community service for Armidale, and as the volunteer manager he co-ordinates his volunteers to stock shelves, pack hampers and fruit and vegetable bags with goods he has ordered from Foodbank NSW," Cr Tiley said.
"Bruce values his volunteers, using their strengths to achieve an efficient, well-run organisation."
The AVRS Awards recognise noteworthy volunteers within the community. Nominees are chosen for their contribution to our community and their vision in implementing their skills and dedication to the tasks they have performed as volunteers.
The five categories for the AVRS awards are Youth (24 years and younger), Adult (25 - 64 years), Senior (65 years plus), Team, and Management.
The Alwyn Jones Community Service Award is presented to an individual or organisation demonstrating an ongoing commitment to voluntary community service within the Armidale Regional Council area.
"This award is named after Alwyn Jones, a prominent volunteer who is best remembered for his contribution to the development of street trees in Armidale from the 1940s to the late 1990s," said Cr Tiley.
"Mr Jones' contribution is just one example of the wonderful outcomes that are a result of the work that volunteers do."
The award has been presented annually since 2005 and is sponsored jointly by Armidale Regional Council and the Armidale Uniting Church.
Council is also supporting the local State Emergency Service Unit (SES) and will light up the Armidale Town Hall in orange on Wednesday as part of 'Wear it Orange Wednesday'.
"The SES plays a vital role in our community, so I am passionate about supporting this cause and raising awareness around the tireless work these volunteers do," Cr Tiley said.
"Whether it's assisting in natural disasters, or supporting emergency services agencies in rescues, there is so much to thank these volunteers for."
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