HASTINGS handyman Geoff Bond has collected another Volunteer of the Year accolade for his efforts helping farmers in need.
The 82-year-old was named the 2019 Senior Volunteer of the Year at a special ceremony in Port Macquarie on Tuesday (August 20), for his work with Frontier Services program, Outback Links.
Mr Bond is not unfamiliar with the accolades after being named the Mid North Coast Volunteer of the Year in 2014.
His passion sees him travel to help families living in outback parts of Australia to assist in construction, fencing, gardening and other tasks.
Mr Bond was among more than 4,500 volunteers recognised for their efforts across the region during the 2019 NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards at The Westport Club.
"I was rather surprised that I was nominated and winning the senior section was an even bigger surprise," he said.
"I stay on a property and do whatever needs to be done, often this can involve stock work or general handyman work.
"In times of drought the farmer is busy with stock problems and the small jobs around the house such as painting, gardening, fencing simply don't get done."
When Mr Bond first signed up to Outback Links, he and his wife Rosalind travelled 1800 kilometres to south-west Queensland.
He has now completed more than 30 placements on agricultural properties across the country, including three this year.
Members of the public have an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of farming families, according to Mr Bond.
"I enjoy the bush and I grew up on a small mixed farming property in the Clare Valley," he said.
"I've got some skills and while I'm fit enough I'd like to keep going.
"It's more important than ever and unfortunately because of the remoteness of the property nobody is prepared to even look at a job, much less do it.
"I'd appeal to farmers who are struggling to not think that they can't ask for volunteers. I feel sure that there most be properties close to Port Macquarie that are in need of help.
"Don't let pride prevent you from putting your hand up because there are lots of volunteers ready to help."
Coffs Harbour resident Julie Ferguson was named Adult Volunteer of the Year and Overall Regional Winner for her work with OzHarvest.
The volunteering dynamo was recognised for giving 40 hours each week to coordinate healthy meals for people in need and organising a team of 20 volunteers.
Coffs Harbour Ozharvest Chapter has rescued over 202 tonnes of food destined for landfill from 50 local businesses and delivered more than 900,000 free healthy meals.
The two regional winners will head to the concluding Gala State Ceremony in Sydney on December 5.
In a quirk of fate, the date also celebrates Mr Bond's 60th wedding anniversary with wife, Rosalind.
The NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards is an annual program run by The Centre for Volunteering.
"Your volunteers build connections for people in towns and communities across the region," said Centre chief executive Gemma Rygate.
"They help to build such positive experiences and links to services across health, education and community sectors.
"Our ceremony today recognises their work and gives us the chance to say thank you."
The awards are supported by the Department of Family and Community Services NSW and ClubsNSW.
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