Volunteers honoured

Circle of Men.

The Redlands Coast is in good hands with five of its own honoured for their service to the local community at the 2023 Volunteer of the Year Awards.

Karen Franklin (Make-A-Wish), Kym Courtenay (Night Ninjas), Terry Moran (Circle of Men), Carolyn Delaney (STAR Community Services) and Suzie Tafalo (Redlands Chamber of Commerce) were nominated by their peers and celebrated at the Community Celebration on Saturday 13 May at Raby Bay Harbour Park in Cleveland.

Hosted by STAR Community Services in partnership with Volunteering Redlands, thousands turned out to mark the occasion, which officially kicked off National Volunteer Week.

“It was wonderful to see so many people from the Redlands and beyond come together to celebrate these selfless community heroes,” said STAR Community Services CEO Patsy Wilshire.

Of the more than 50 local volunteers nominated for this year’s awards, those recognised as award recipients were humbled to be acknowledged. Many of them are long-term champions of the Redlands community.

Kym Courtenay has been a volunteer for the past 20 years and for the past eight has been instrumental in assisting people in need access meals and supplies.

“I do what I do because it matters, there are more and more people finding themselves in situations they never thought they would,” Mrs Courtenay said.

“I would certainly encourage others in the Redlands community to take the time to give back if they can, I am humbled by the award, but don’t do it for the recognition, obviously.”

STAR Community Services volunteer Carolyn Delaney has been supporting the organisation for 15 years.

She is a volunteer driver with STAR, providing seniors and people with disability access to reliable transportation six-days a week.

“I’m thrilled to have been nominated for these community awards,” Mrs Delaney said. “Volunteering is something that I get a lot out of and it’s a real pleasure to provide a service seniors need, after all we may find ourselves or a loved one there some day.”

Karen Franklin, Branch President of the local Make-A-Wish office, has been with the organisation for close to five years.

She has been instrumental in the recent establishment of the new Redlands and Logan branch and has worked on close to 30 wishes. Right now, she is working on a further eight wishes for critically ill children.

“It’s not the easiest volunteer work obviously, but it’s important,” said Karen. “Putting a smile on a critically ill child’s face is priceless. I am so glad we have a local branch now, thank you so much to those who nominated me for this year’s awards.”

Terry Moran, who was nominated by Circle of Men – a Queensland group who support elderly men living in aged care combat loneliness – is currently overseas.

Mr Moran has clocked up a decade of volunteer work this month and currently supervises four Circle of Men sessions each week. His award was accepted by Lawrence Hardwick.

Rounding out the honoured volunteered was Suzie Tafalo. Considered ‘a credit to the Redlands’, Ms Tafalo was chuffed to be recognised for her service to the Redlands Chamber of Commerce.

“I love this community and the work I do in it, to be honoured like this is wonderful,” she said.

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