Local Hero Award
This annual award recognises residents who make outstanding contributions to our community; people who give up their own time for the benefit of others and for our community as a whole.
Each year in the run up to National Volunteers Week we call for nominations for this award.
2020 Local Heroes: Anthony Bellette and Mathew Hatcher
In a tumultuous year of drought, fire, flood and pandemic lockdown, countless Eurobodallans contributed time and energy to all our benefit. Unsurprisingly, this year’s nominations for the shire’s Local Hero award attracted an unrivalled field of entrants – it was a tough ask to separate any one as the ‘winner’. Ultimately, two candidates were selected to represent a community full of heroes.
An active member of the Batemans Bay Surf Lifesaving Club for the past 12 years, Anthony Bellette is both a role model for younger lifesavers and a smoother of ways who ensures all members enjoy their club volunteering. Anthony does not seek praise but puts his effort toward getting the job done.
During the bushfire emergency, the 28-year-old stepped up as a community leader at the impromptu evacuation centre at the club headquarters in Malua Bay; working with other volunteers to keep 1500 people safe as the bushfire raged around. After the fires passed, Anthony kept the facility open as a community hub.
Mathew Hatcher has been an advocate for local business and tourism after he decided to call Eurobodalla home six year ago. The past Batemans Bay Business and Tourism Committee member has also been involved with Sculpture on Clyde, the Mackay Park Sunset Committee, Cultivate Space, The Man Walk, and the Tomakin Community Association.
Building on his previous experience of bushfire recovery following the 2018 Tathra fires, January 2020 saw Mathew quickly set up the South Coast Donations Logistic Team to house and distribute the enormous amount of bushfire recovery donations and get them to those in need, from Batemans Bay to the Victorian border.
Due to pandemic restrictions there will be no presentation ceremony for our local heroes in 2020 but they can rest assured of the many virtual congratulations destined their way.
Anthony has gone above and beyond on many occasions as a Surf Lifesaving Member at Batemans Bay Surf Life Saving Club through regular weekend patrols, emergency call outs, new initiatives and training. Anthony was also the driving force in the organisation and operation of the unofficial evacuation centre at Batemans Bay Surf Club during the New Year’s Eve bushfires.
Blaise retired to Tuross Head in 2010 and joined the Tuross Marine Rescue Unit. He was Unit Commander for six years and continues to be an active volunteer and trainer to this day. Prior to this, Blaise volunteered in New Guinea for three years in the 1970’s and achieved a life membership of Apex Australia.
Bridie has been a volunteer for the Moruya Surf Life Saving Club Special Nippers program for six years and has since taken on a role to help coordinate the program. Having been a Rotary Youth Exchange student herself, Bridie now volunteers as a local liaison officer with the Moruya Rotary Club by checking on the welfare of exchange students and their host families.
Darren is involved with Broulee Surf Life Saving Club and supports local sports such as cricket, swimming and football. Darren is also the Principal of St Peter’s Anglican College and has gone above and beyond this role to support the community since the New Year’s Eve bushfires. He protected the school during the fires and has worked almost every day since to rebuild the College.
Jim is the owner and manager of IGA Batehaven and lost his home during the New Year’s Eve bushfires. Despite his loss, Jim opened his store as soon as possible to provide an essential service to the community in a time of need. Jim has also been a long-time supporter of local sporting clubs, schools and community events.
John is the voluntary Secretary of the Tuross Head Progress Association. He throws himself into his community duties with enthusiasm and determination. John, through his role as Secretary, has assisted with various projects in the Tuross Head area and is always looking for ways to improve the village for the community.
Jonathon is a NSW Ambulance Paramedic who has been on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic. After losing his home during the New Year’s Eve bushfires, Jonathon he has been a voluntary worker for the Nerrigundah fire recovery effort and has privately delivered water cubes to affected people in the region.
Kathryn is the coordinator of the Sustainable Agriculture and Gardening Eurobodalla’s (SAGE) ‘Veggies For All’ program where she assists with training sessions and the installation of raised garden beds for welfare recipients. Kathryn is also the Chair of the South Coast Health and Sustainability Alliance where she focuses on actions to mitigate climate change for Eurobodalla.
Leanne is an active member of the Eurobodalla RSPCA and demonstrates real commitment to the welfare of animals in Eurobodalla. During the December/January bushfires, Leanne managed the care of a significant number of animals, including dogs, cats and birds, at the Moruya Evacuation Centre from dawn until dusk.
Lei is the owner, editor and director of the Beagle weekly news. During the bushfire emergency, Lei spent long hours sharing crucial information with the community through the online newspaper and the Beagle facebook page and more recently regarding Covid-19. Lei also established the popular South Coast Travel Guide website.
Lisa is a local businesswoman who specialises in renewable energy and she has been instrumental in driving positive change in terms of sustainable energy generation in Eurobodalla. Lisa is also an active member of the Bodalla Rural Fire Service and played an important role in responding to the December/January bushfire emergency.
Mathew was the founder of the South Coast Donations Logistics team who is supporting the community during the bushfire recovery in Eurobodalla as well as the Tathra bushfires. Mathew volunteered on the Batemans Bay Business and Tourism Chamber, Sculpture on Clyde, Cultivate Space and often donates to various charities and initiatives.
Rebecca assisted in the set up of the Greater Mogo Fire Recovery Team (GMFR) following the bushfire emergency. Rebecca and volunteers assisted in delivering items such as generators, fuel and basic tools to the area following the bushfires. Rebecca and her team now assists with welfare checks for residents and maintains the GMFR website.
For more information, please contact Anna Waters:
- T: 4474 1358
- E: firstname.lastname@example.org