Buxton's Kim Hill named Macarthur Volunteer of the Year

Buxton RFS member Kim Hill has just been named Macarthur Volunteer of the Year. Picture: Chris Lane
Buxton RFS member Kim Hill has just been named Macarthur Volunteer of the Year. Picture: Chris Lane

Buxton's Kim Hill was "overwhelmed" and "lost for words" when she found out she was the 2020 Volunteer of the Year.

The Buxton RFS member was honoured at yesterday's Centre for Volunteering Macarthur region awards, where she picked up both Adult Volunteer of the Year and overall Volunteer of the Year.

The 43-year-old has been with the RFS for six years now, including the devastating 2019/20 bushfire season.

It was Ms Hill's job to look after the donations flowing in to the brigade.

"When the fires hit us our captain asked me to be in charge of donations coming in and at first I thought, this is a piece of cake, there will be a few bottles of water and that will be it," she said.

"I didn't realise just how big it would really get.

"So I ended up teaming up with Kerry O'Grady from the CWA [Country Women's Association] in Picton and we co-managed the community hub, located at Balmoral Community Hall.

"The hub serviced everyone from Wollondilly and Wingecarribee. So that was my main role this summer."

Ms Hill said the hub wouldn't have been possible without the help of Ms O'Grady, and she was so thankful to have worked with her. She also thanked her brigade captain, Peter Fenning, and the entire Buxton RFS crew for all their support.

Picture: Chris Lane

Picture: Chris Lane

She said doing volunteer work was the most rewarding pursuit.

"I'm sure an volunteer will tell you, you do it for your community, not for a pat on the back," she said.

"If anyone can donate any time whatsover to any cause for volunteering, it's so rewarding.

"Just being able to put a smile on someone's face, to help them to move that little bit forward, is more rewarding than anything you can imagine.

"And it's about working together - there's no one person, it's a team effort.

"You can only hope that what you do is passed on to future generations. It has with my daughter, who has just joined the RFS.

"This award I accept on behalf of all volunteers, regardless of who they represent."

Ms Hill's current project is working to get a memorial playground under way in Buxton.

The playground would be fire truck-themed, to honour the two brave firefighters who lost their lives battling the Green Wattle Creek blaze last year: Horsley Park RFS members Andrew O'Dwyer and Geoffrey Keaton.

"I've come up with the plans and that, but the idea itself came from our Captain's daughter-in-law, who thought a fire truck playground would be a great tribute," Ms Hill said.

"This is sort of the community's way of giving back and healing.

"Everyone is still dealing with their own trauma, and we haven't really hit the fire season this year yet, so doing something like this is a little way that we can give thanks to the men who gave up everything to keep us safe.

"It's also a reminder for future generations - these people gave up their whole lives so we can live in our community. Our main focus is providing a happy place for the families to come back to, where they can be happy, smile and laugh. There's going to be some sad times for the young children of these two men, so we want to provide a place of joy and laughter where they can remember their dads."

The other volunteer of the year award winners were Jeremiah Strickland (young volunteer), Mary Carey (senior volunteer) and the The Myrtle Cottage Covid Support Team (volunteer team).

This story Buxton's Kim Hill named Macarthur Volunteer of the Year first appeared on Wollondilly Advertiser.