Volunteers from across Central West were recognised for their outstanding contributions at a special virtual ceremony for the 2020 NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards on Thursday.
About 100 guests, volunteers and community leaders came together for the virtual event to recognise and celebrate the region's volunteers.
Among the winners were Torren Burton from Spring Hill who was awarded Young Volunteer of the Year for his work at Head Space Orange and Kerry Burchett from Molong was awarded Adult Volunteer of the Year.
Mrs Burchett has volunteered with St John's Ambulance Molong Cadet Division for the past 25 years and was a founding member of the group, which is one of the few that continue to run in the Central West.
Mrs Burchett now leads the division and looks after equipment, supplies and logistics.
She also conducts weekly training for the team of volunteers each Thursday evening at Molong Central School as well as providing first aid at dozens of community events each year.
Mrs Burchett said the cadets were similar to scouts and earn merit badges, however, there's also a strong emphasis on first aid and some of the cadets have gone on to join St John's Ambulance as adults, some have become paramedics and others have become nurses.
Mr Burton has volunteered with Head Space for about two years and is a mentor for other young volunteers at the organisation, which provides mental health services for teenagers and adults up to 25 years of age.
Mr Burton helps to raise money and awareness and advocate for mental health issues.
"I had a really rough time in my last year at school and it's helped me get out of that hole I was in, I know what help an organisation like that is to the community," he said.
Other winners included NSW Volunteer of the Year for the Central West region Bev Cooney of Bathurst who founded The Neighbourhood Centre Dementia Cafe and is a member of Bathurst Rotary Club. She was also awarded Senior Volunteer of the Year.
The Volunteer Team of the Year award was won by The Arts in Health volunteers who help vulnerable residents at the Oberon Multipurpose Service to create art, music, dance and movement.
The NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards are an annual program run by The Centre for Volunteering, and it has grown to become one of the largest celebrations of volunteering across the country.
The Centre for Volunteering CEO Gemma Rygate said volunteers have continued to give their time, energy and compassion despite challenges brought about by COVID-19.
"I couldn't be more proud of the region's volunteers and their incredible resilience and spirit. We are just so glad that technology allowed us to still come together to say thank you," she said.
The regional award winners will now be eligible for the NSW Volunteer of the Year Award finals.
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