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Two many heroes is not enough

Thursday 21 May 2020

Anthony Bellette and Mathew Hatcher are Eurobodalla’s 2020 Local Heroes.

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.