Volunteers honoured

(L-R) Garry Collins, Brenton Watson, Michael Sposato, Dr Daniel Mulino, Phu Le accepting the award on behalf of Vinh Nguyen, and Vivi Uyenthuy Dangcong. (Supplied)

Last week, in celebration of National Volunteer Week, Fraser MP Dr Daniel Mulino, honoured six outstanding local individuals for their significant contributions to the community.

These volunteers have played crucial roles in sustaining social, charitable, and sporting activities that many rely on.

Dr Mulino highlighted the vital impact of volunteer work in the community and said evidence of the extraordinary contribution of volunteers’ was evident in his work every day.

“Our lives are so much richer thanks to their hard work.”

One of the six recipients, Vinh Nguyen was recognised for his decades-long contribution to the Vietnamese community and the Melbourne Vietnamese Lions Club.

Women of Brimbank founder Poonam Singh was also recognised for her work connecting migrant women and their families through informal gatherings and cultural events. A driving instructor turned bus driver, Ms Singh started the group in 2013 to help isolated women overcome language barriers and social isolation.

“It made me think that I could arrange get-togethers for them to meet and have some social connection. We organised picnics and they would bring their families. It’s grown from there,” she said.

The group now has about 70 members and organises larger events through a core group of volunteers.

Another recipient, Vivi Uyenthuy Dangcong, was honoured for her work organising and running art, craft, and traditional dance activities for young people, more recently through Brimbank council. With a Bachelor of Arts and Youth Work, Ms Dangcong said she enjoys volunteering as it helps her meet new people and opens up opportunities.

Sunshine Heights Soccer Club president and treasurer Michael Sposato was chosen for his more than 40- year-long involvement with the club.

Mr Sposato, a former fitter and turner who worked as a production manager in hardware manufacturing for many years, has been club president for the past 18 years. The club, formed in the 1960s, currently has seven teams.

Sunshine RSL Club president Garry Collins and RSL member Brenton Watson were commended for their dedication to organising Anzac Day and Remembrance Day commemorations.

Mr Collins, a lifelong Sunshine resident, dedicates about 18 hours a week to club activities. Mr Collins was working as a clerk in Carlton when he was conscripted in 1970. He spent nearly two years as a medic at the Puckapunuyal Army training camp near Seymour until conscription ended in 1972.

Mr Watson, who works full-time for the RAAF at Laverton, assists with organising events, maintenance, IT work, and at weekends, he and his partner look after the club’s memorial gardens.