Heritage Bank has announced the winner of its 2014 Volunteer of the Year Award, showcasing the community’s appreciation for the hard work and efforts of volunteers throughout Queensland.
This year’s winner was Jennifer Malloch from Amanda Vella’s Save a Horse Australia (SAHA) Horse Rescue and Sanctuary.
In her nomination, Ms Malloch was acknowledged for her unwavering commitment to SAHA, nursing severely neglected horses back to health at her own stables and paddocks while also raising funds and awareness for the charity.
For taking out the award, Ms Malloch receives an individual prize of $1000, while Save a Horse Australia receives $10,000.
“I’d like to say thank you to Heritage and everyone that voted,” Ms Malloch said.
“It’s wonderful to have our hard work recognised and I’m so grateful to for the support shown by the public for rescue horses. A lot of people are unaware of the plight of Australian horses so I hope that through this award we can create more awareness about this issue and the unimaginable neglect some of them have endured.”
“At the moment, we have about 50 horses in our care so these winnings will go a long way to helping pay vet bills so we can continue rescuing and finding new homes for neglected, abused and slaughter bound horses.”
Ms Malloch managed to acquire 4216 votes from the public, over 1000 votes more than runners up Sue Carson from Paws Hoofs and Claws and Samara Hill from Golden Ark Rescue. The runners-up each receive an individual prize of $100, while their organizations receive $1000 each.
Heritage this year also announced the inaugural People First Award, awarded to the volunteer who best embodies the Heritage values and culture of integrity, excellence and community.
The award went to Helene Dillon from Flexible Living. Helene was nominated for her 30-year-long commitment to the support of the elderly and people with a disability within the Browns Plain and Logan community. She receives an individual prize of $100, with $1000 going to Flexible Living.
Flexible Living Community Inclusion Coordinator Lauren Ward said 84-year-old Helene was a strong advocate for ensuring all people were treated equally, no matter their age, social status or physical condition.
“Helene has a heart of gold and a great sense of humour,” Ms Ward said.
“She’s been with us from the start and has put in over 14,000 hours, made over 36,000 of her famous scones and supported more than 5,000 people.”
“She brings so much joy to the group and I know that every person whose life she has touched is so thankful to have met her.
"Now in its second year running, Heritage Bank CEO Mr John Minz said the awards were more popular than ever with a total of more than $13,000 in prizes on offer.
“This year, we had wonderful response from the public receiving over 300 volunteer nominations and close to 17,500 votes via the Heritage website and the new voting platform on our Facebook page,” Mr Minz said.
“We were really pleased with both the number and diversity of groups represented, which is testimony to the great value that volunteers add to the community.”
Aside from hosting The Volunteer of the Year Award, Heritage Bank also supports the work of volunteers by offering paid leave for its staff to perform voluntary duties.
“My thanks and congratulations go to each of the volunteers nominated. The efforts of each volunteer for the community organisations and causes they support are invaluable and make a difference to so many lives,” Mr Minz said.