Volunteer firefighter bags 2020 NSW Volunteer of the Year award
Volunteer firefighter Kim Hill has been honoured as the 2020 NSW Volunteer of the Year for her courageous and dedicated support for bushfire impacted communities in the Macarthur and Southern Highlands regions.
The 43-year-old NSW Rural Fire Service volunteer, mother, and well-being specialist has been volunteering since she was 14 and was chosen from more than 100,000 nominees for the awards across 25 regions in NSW.
Kim also established and led the Balmoral Village Recovery Hub during and after the 2019-2020 Green Wattle Creek Bushfire. As a result, 12 shipping containers worth of food, clothing and other items were donated to the local community after the fires.
Outside her role as a volunteer firefighter, Kim helped manage and distribute the items for many months after the fires as well as providing access and referrals to other support and services.
The recognition comes 12 months after the fire jumped containment lines and continued to ravage more than a quarter of a million hectares of bushland, impacting communities throughout the region.
The fire claimed the lives of Buxton RFS volunteer firefighters Geoffrey Keaton and Andrew O’Dwyer. Kim helped raise more than $200,000 towards a memorial playground in honour of the two firefighting volunteers, which is due to be officially opened this weekend.
In his message, NSW Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services Gareth Ward highlighted the volunteer firefighter’s valiant actions and the impact that she made in the community.
“Kim Hill served on the frontline during the bushfires while her own house came under threat, and was the glue that held her community together during the incredibly challenging weeks and months that followed. Kim epitomises the selfless community spirit that shone bright throughout last year’s unprecedented bushfire season, and is a very deserving recipient of this year’s Volunteer of the Year award,” Ward said.
The NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards are an annual program run by The Centre for Volunteering to recognise the outstanding work of volunteers in every region across NSW. The awards are in their 14th year and have grown to become one of the largest celebrations of volunteering across Australia.
The 2020 NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards are supported by principal partners the NSW Department of Communities and Justice and ClubsNSW, which represents the state’s 1,400 not-for-profit clubs.
The NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards also named Harpreet Kaur Dhillon from Eastwood as Young Volunteer of the Year, Amelia Butler from Broken Hill as Senior Volunteer of the Year, Andrew Bredin from Right Management Corporate Volunteer of the Year.
WIRES Mid-South Coast Branch volunteers and NSW Foodbank Distribution Centre Volunteers were named as joint winners of the Volunteer Team of the Year award.
Meanwhile, The Greater Charitable Foundation bagged the Corporate Volunteer Team of the Year award and Kylie Elliot from the Sydney Children’s Hospital Foundation was given an award for Excellence in Volunteer Management.