The Outstanding Adult Volunteers category formally recognises and celebrates adult volunteers for the vital role they play in building and supporting stronger more connected communities in Victoria.

Please find the list of Outstanding Adult Volunteers winners below:

Bert Westerman

Araluen Centre

Volunteering at Araluen for the past 6 years, Bert supports people with disabilities to enhance their literacy skills and is integral to the operation of the Men’s Shed program. He is known for his creativity and patience, encouraging everyone to feel good about themselves and their individual achievements. Bert displays enormous commitment and dedication, his personal motto being ‘I get more out of it than I put in’.

Elizabeth ‘Joy’ Ferguson

Diamond Valley Learning Centre

For over three years, Joy has supported disadvantaged students in the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning program at Diamond Valley Learning Centre (DVLC). Known for helping young people develop their skills and self confidence, Joy has been instrumental in forming a consortium of local Rotary clubs to support the DVLC re-engagement program for young people who have left education. In the words of one of her students: ‘Joy is just awesome’.

Graeme Hilson

University of the Third Age Box Hill & Nunawading

Graeme has decades of volunteer service as a Justice of the Peace and volunteer Bail Justice. As computer tutor with the University of the Third Age, Graeme encourages seniors to embrace technology and ‘have a go’ at new classes, despite any physical disabilities. As founder of the Monash Stroke Support Group in 2001, Graeme has demonstrated that life can be meaningful after a stroke. He has advocated for greater recognition and assistance for carers.

Kathryn Harry

Vision Australia

Kate is a dedicated volunteer and ambassador for the Seeing Eye Dog Program. She has cared for 19 seeing eye dog puppies over the last 19 years, and provided individual and group support to clients. An active fundraiser for Vision Australia, Kate is highly regarded for her empathy, passion and commitment to promoting social inclusion.

Kevin Gibson

The Briars, Mornington Peninsula Shire

Kevin volunteers at The Briars, a National Trust homestead, where he plays a vital role in maintaining the building and grounds so that visitors can enjoy the property. He was also key member of the team that built a 5 kilometre feral exclusion fence around the Wildlife Sanctuary. Kevin undertakes all manner of tasks, is a valued mentor to staff and trainees, and is highly respected for his wisdom, inventive approach and ‘can do’ attitude.

Khamko Synaphet

LaoAus Care

Khamko has dedicated 40 years of volunteer service supporting the Lao community in Victoria. A strong advocate in the areas of education, health, wellbeing and ageing, Khamko is a great role model and a positive example of ageing well. A success story of Lao refugee settlement, she provides outstanding leadership and sets a great example for younger generations.

Lesley Westerman

Araluen Centre

Lesley is described as an ‘absolute gem’ for the contribution she makes to the lives of people with disabilities at the Araluen Centre. She has enhanced the literacy and numeracy skills of program participants using her hallmark caring approach and positive attitude. Lesley’s volunteering experience has included roles with the Repatriation Hospital and DoCare and with her husband Bert, she has provided a home for children requiring foster care. 

Lydia Charlamow

Russian Ethnic Representative Council of Victoria

For over 50 years, Lydia has been volunteering for the Russian Ethnic Council of Victoria. She has fulfilled governance roles and since 2003, has volunteered full-time, visiting elderly people to provide support and links to services. Through this commitment she has improved the quality of life of many who would otherwise experience social isolation.

Matthew Walmsley-Sims

Lyndoch Living

Matthew volunteers at Lyndoch Living where he is an integral part of the aged care team. Matthew is described as an inspirational individual who has not let any obstacle diminish his enthusiasm, passion or commitment to making a difference to residents’ lives. His leadership and innovation has resulted in the development of programs such as a ‘man cave’, engaging male residents who would not normally participate in activities.

Peter Watson

Alfred Health

Following a short stay in hospital, Peter wanted to give back to the community by becoming a volunteer. This has included a range of ‘hands on’ volunteer roles including concierge, hospital tours and pool pals, and supporting systems improvement by engaging with and representing health consumers. Through these efforts Peter has been able to make the patient experience better at all levels.

Ron Furze

Yackandandah Health

Ron’s commitment to volunteering spans six decades and for him it is an integral part of community life. Ron’s volunteering resume includes involvement with the Allans Flat Fire Brigade, Yackandandah Health and the local meals on wheels service. His accomplishments are many, including leading fundraising for the establishment of an aged care facility. Ron believes in, and cares for, his local community, having spent a lifetime helping others.

Ross McDowall

South East Volunteers

For over five years, Ross has been a driver in South East Volunteers Transport supporting people to live independently at home. Ross’ gentle and quiet nature is a comfort for many clients who are socially isolated and have a variety of medical problems. Ross also volunteers with Motor Neurone Disease Australia and Eastern Palliative Care. He is described as a “consistent quiet achiever” always ready to lend a hand.

Roy Francis

Mornington Peninsula Prostate Support Group

As a volunteer Ambassador for the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia, Roy has established 11 support groups, and conducted 482 presentations to some 25,000 people throughout Victoria. He has also had ambassador roles with the National Stroke Foundation and Beyond Blue, and participated in the governance of sporting and seniors organisations.

Travis Williams

You Yangs MTB

Travis was a driving force in the development of a partnership with Parks Victoria to promote sustainable mountain bike riding in the You Yangs Regional Park. He spent over 750 hours in a seven month period developing the eastern epic trail often using his own bobcat and other heavy equipment to complete work in environmentally and culturally sensitive areas. Since 2002, park visitation has increased by 400 percent with over 45 percent of these being mountain bike riders.