Mayor Rachel Chambers with Biggenden volunteer Martin Swain and Member for Callide Colin Boyce.
Mayor Rachel Chambers with Biggenden volunteer Martin Swain and Member for Callide Colin Boyce. Felicity Ripper

Swain volunteer of the year

CRUSHED by a forklift in a workplace accident, suffering through intense pain and battling depression, Martin Swain hasn't lived an easy life.

But these aren't the experiences that define the Biggenden local; his generosity and attitude do, and they earned him the Annual Volunteer Award 2018 for the North Burnett region.

Mr Swain was nominated by Judy Harvey for his volunteer efforts within a local tutoring group.

Struggling to carry out everyday tasks due to his disabilities, in 2012 Mr Swain joined the Burnett Adult Tutoring Society, a group aimed at improving the numeracy, literacy and computer skills of adults.

Mrs Harvey said as soon as Mr Swain completed his training he began assisting other students, even completing an accredited tutors course to be able to continue volunteering.

"Despite Marty's issues he is always happy and supportive for new students who are usually quite daunted by the prospect of learning new skills,” Mrs Harvey said.

"And he never blows his own whistle, he continues to give to his community despite continuing health issues and we are very proud to have him as a member of our group.”

Mr Swain said being a volunteer is priceless for the confidence he gained, friendships he formed and the feeling of enhancing lives within his community.

"One I can't forget is a young man named Zachary who couldn't read or write very well and who thought he would never gain his drivers license,” Mr Swain said.

"He told me he thought he was no good but we worked together to turn the situation around and he left with his license.”

Wide Bay Volunteers Manager Rhonda Whiteside said she was honoured to highlight the volunteers within the regional communities and their multidimensional impact they have on the economy.

"From our research volunteering provides an effective mental health recovery pathway, an effective job training pathway, and is a great social engagement tool,” Mrs Whiteside said.

As Biggenden Volunteer of the Year, Martin Swain was awarded North Burnett overall Volunteer of the Year 2018.

Gayndah Volunteer of the Year Robin Miller.
Gayndah Volunteer of the Year Robin Miller. Felicity Ripper

Gayndah Volunteer of the Year was awarded to Robin Miller.

June Dickson was presented with the Mt Perry Long Service Award and Mt Perry Volunteer of the Year was awarded to Kym Cleary.

Noela Clarey, Kim Cleary, June Dickson and John Bowen.
Noela Clarey, Kim Cleary, June Dickson and John Bowen. Felicity Ripper

Mrs Whiteside also commended North Burnett Regional Council for their involvement and nominations for award recipients.

Mayor Rachel Chambers and North Burnett Regional Council were commended for their involvement in the awards ceremony.
Mayor Rachel Chambers and North Burnett Regional Council were commended for their involvement in the awards ceremony. Felicity Ripper

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