Monday, December 12, 2016

Well Rewarded

Tracey Skinner, Sue Fox, me, Julie Davies and Ros
Photo: Rodney Brooke
Last Monday, 5th December, we all headed to the Grampians for the Kookaburra Award ceremony. Parks Victoria were celebrating their 30,000 volunteers and I caught a glimpse of what lies behind the creation of the Sherpa Volunteer Program.

Three lifetime achievement awards were presented and Ros and I were honoured for the TrailRider Improving Health Benefits. What impressed me was the time, 20 or 30 years that these people had spent doing what they did.

My personal highlight, apart from the birthday present of my very own TrailRider about which I'll write separately, was being sherpaed by Connor on his very first day as a ranger. He hails from Vancouver and has met Sam Sullivan who invented the TrailRider. I feel I have touched royalty!. He asked me what my favourite hikes were there, a sure way to an old man's heart, and knew them all!

Julie Davies was given a lifetime award for 30 years of steady work on the Great South West Walk - a 250km circular track, partly coastal, in the Portland region of South West Victoria. Walking the track is now becoming harder for her. Is another TrailRider needed?

Tracey Skinner had, with other volunteers including a stone-mason, patiently worked on stabilising the walking track up Mount Arapiles. Rock steps, many kilometers of them, now ensure that path lasts for ever.

Bernie Fox was awarded posthumously so his widow Sue accepted the award. Bernie and I have been in email contact since October 2012 when he and others took the Grampians TrailRider up into the Wyperfeld National Park in Northern Victoria.and showed a disabled and elderly woman round mallee fowl nests. He worked tirelessly, for many years on the Glen Nayook bush reserve as well as the Point Nepean.

The People's Choice award went to the Ballette family in Gippsland who had undertaken camp ground host volunteer work in parks for many years. Ros and I came fourth in this category Thank you all for your support.

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