25 August 2023

Riverina volunteer in the running for state award for his unwavering support of his community

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
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South Wagga Wagga Rotarian Brian Roy was recently honoured as the Riverina Volunteer of the Year. Photo: Supplied.

A local volunteer of 30 years was recently honoured for his generous services to the community.

South Wagga Wagga Rotarian Brian Roy was awarded the Senior Volunteer of the Year and then the Riverina Volunteer of the Year awards on 17 August.

The long-time volunteer is now in the running to win the overall NSW Volunteer of the Year award in Sydney in early December.

Brian has had many roles at South Wagga Rotary, including as a volunteer cook, driver, fundraiser, gardener, handyman and ticketer.

The 71-year-old has spread his support far and wide across the region in many organisations, including for the Amie St Clair Melanoma Trust, Country Hope, Kidney Foundation, Lilier Lodge, Salvation Amry, Wagga Dance Eisteddfod and Wagga Show Society.

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Brian was surprised when he learned he was named the Riverina Volunteer of the Year.

“It was a surprise and a bit embarrassing because I’m part of the team,” Brian said.

“Through Rotary, I got other contacts, and when things come up, I put my hand up because I had the time to spare … a lot of people don’t have the spare time, but I’m fortunate since I’m fully retired.”

Brian said even though he only did what other people did, he felt excited about being in the running for the state award.

Brian is known for his attention to the welfare of past and current members, which involves keeping in touch with those who are ill or have lost their partner.

Brian after he had installed the cabinet in the Wheelhouse

Brian after he installed the cabinet in the Wheelhouse: Photo: Supplied.

He visits the members for a coffee and conversation and completes small maintenance jobs around their homes and gardens.

South Wagga Wagga Rotary said Brian was always thinking of others who were less fortunate.

He coordinated the renovation of the Wagga Showground’s Pavilion to provide South Wagga Rotary with much-needed storage, preparation and meeting space.

Brian’s latest renovation will allow Wagga Show Society to provide better services [three toilets and two showers] to people relocated to the showground in the event of floods or fires.

Born and raised in Ganmain, Brian moved to Wagga in November 1968 as a 16-year-old to start his apprenticeship as a carpenter-joiner and has lived in Wagga since then.

Brian Roy at the Kidney Karr Fundraiser with his fellow volunteers.

(Second from right) Brian Roy at the Kidney Karr Fundraiser with his fellow volunteers. Photo: Supplied.

Brian started volunteering when his three boys played junior sports (football and cricket), driving the bus when the children went away for their football games.

He joined Rotary in 2006 when he had more time to spare and as he was preparing for retirement. He retired in 2015.

“I went to a Rotary meeting and discovered I knew half the blokes in the room,” Brian said.

“I stayed there, and it grew from that … we would hear about so many different projects.

“Sometimes we were just two or three people, and we would get together to do the projects.”

Brian Roy with Bob Maslin on Melanoma Day.

Brian Roy with Bob Maslin on Melanoma Day. Photo: Supplied.

After volunteering for more than three decades, Brian said he better understood people’s needs.

“There’s a diverse range … some people are very needy, some are not. Some feel embarrassed getting help,” he said.

“You feel good about yourself when you give back to others.”

When Brian isn’t volunteering, he spends time with his children and eight grandchildren.

The grandfather said he hoped to encourage people to volunteer, even if it was just a couple of hours a week.

“Doing one thing is better than nothing. Volunteering is good for you.”

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Brian thanked his wife for her unwavering support.

“I’d like to thank my wife Dianne for putting up with me … it’s a fair bit of time I don’t spend with her, but she understands that I enjoy it,” he said.

“She used to volunteer at Lilier Lodge as well.”

Brian also extended his gratitude to NSW Volunteering for organising the awards.

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