Heroes of Community sport are celebrated with the inaugural Wests Sports Volunteer of the Year awards
Wests Group Macarthur was thrilled to present the inaugural Wests Sports Volunteer of the Year Awards on Saturday 21st May 2022, honouring the contribution of volunteers amongst Wests Sports Council Members and a broad network of sporting clubs and associations to the Macarthur sporting community.
The event, held at Wests League Club was timed during National Volunteer Week – Australia’s largest annual celebration of volunteering and comes off the back of a very disruptive period to grassroots sport with both Covid-19 and inclement weather challenging community sport like never before.
As a long-time supporter and sponsor of sport in the region, Wests Group developed the awards program to acknowledge and celebrate the enormous contribution of time and effort that sporting volunteers give to sport within Macarthur – a volunteer sector that represents around $4billion dollars of labour input nationally.
The program accepted both long service submissions as well as an overall Youth (under 21yrs) and Adult (21+yrs) of the Year nominations and was open to 30 member clubs and associations of the Wests Sports Council who deliver local sport to Macarthur via a network representing upwards of 35,000 athletes, administrators, and volunteers.
Alan Buxton, Chairman of Wests Group Macarthur comments “C oming off a couple of tough years, Wests wanted to acknowledge these incredible volunteers that are vital to the successful running of a community sports club. We know sporting organisations would not be able to run without these selfless and passionate people who give their time willingly to fill critical roles on and off the field each week”.
Daniel Perkiss, Chief Executive Officer at Wests Group Macarthur adds “These are the unsung heroes of sport and Wests wanted to provide the platform for them to unwind, celebrate, and be recognised for their efforts”.
Throughout the nomination period from February to April 2022 over 100 nominations were received from various codes including swimming, hockey, rugby league, AFL, Cricket, BMX, and more. Every nomination in the categories of 15, 20, 25, 30 years or more of service was recognised with a service pin, certificate, and gift from Wests with the total list of recipients cumulatively representing over 150 decades of service to sport in the region.
Wests extended the invitation for the completely complimentary celebration to up to ten representatives of each of the Wests Sports Council members made up of presidents, committee members, and volunteer nominations in an evening hosted by sports journalist Tim Gilbert. Guests were treated to beverages and a premium menu prepared by Wests Chefs of antipasto, seafood platters, and a main course of Chicken or Rib Eye, as well as dessert, and treated to a Q&A with former NRL player Chris Lawrence, plus entertainment by Brendan Mon Tanner from Magic to the Max, music and more.
WINNER Youth Volunteer of the Year – Paige Morel, Ingleburn RSL Softball Club, part of Softball Campbelltown.
Wests is thrilled to announce sixteen-year-old Paige Morel of Softball Campbelltown as the Youth winner in the Wests Sports Volunteer of the Year awards. Paige has been part of the softball community since age four and currently plays and umpires both for Ingleburn RSL Softball Club and at Association Reps.
Paige volunteers her Saturdays at the grounds and helps to mentor new young umpires and this season Paige has been an assistant under 8s coach and continually lends her support and skills to training the younger teams.
Paige is a graduate of the selective Sydney Southwest Academy of Sport Softball program, represented NSW at the Metro level at a national under 14s softball championships, and was the official umpire of the state under 10s championships grand final in 2021. Ms. Morel’s nomination spoke of her being a committed year 10 high school student who juggles a part-time casual job and gives up her spare time to help around the grounds every week.
On accepting the award, Paige acknowledged the amazing support of her parents, mentors, and fellow players and teams at Softball Campbelltown saying, “It is in their giving that I am able to give back and for that I am grateful”.
Pictured: Paige Morel, Ingleburn RSL Softball Club part of Softball NSW accepts her prize with Wests Group Macarthur Chairman Alan Buxton and Chief Executive Officer Daniel Perkiss.
Winner Adult Volunteer of the Year – Glenn Schwarzel, Macarthur Triathlon
Now a seasoned triathlete, Glenn originally became interested in the sport back in 1991 by doing the run leg for a team at the Noosa Triathlon and has since completed 25 Noosa’s as an individual competitor. Glenn has competed in several standard distances World Championships and two Cross Tri World Championships and now boasts a long list of Triathlon achievements. Glenn is currently the President and a Life Member of the Macarthur Triathlon Club and has been on the Board of Triathlon NSW since 2008, formerly in the role of Vice President and now as President. Glenn also currently holds the position of President of Triathlon NSW.
In 2010 he successfully obtained a significant grant to design and build a new triathlon facility in Sydney’s Southwest – now one of NSW’s Best Triathlon facilities and an amazing platform for the successful delivery of triathlon in the local community. Glenn was described by his team as a “fount of wisdom, both creative and inventive, the ‘grant whisperer’, as well as set-up and pack-up leader”.
Of the win, Mr. Schwarzel shares “What a great honour to be recognised as the first-ever Adult Wests Sports Volunteer of the Year and amongst such amazing fellow nominees. This is a wonderful way to draw attention to the work of volunteers in community sport as well as Macarthur Triathlon and I thank Wests for this incredible privilege”.
Pictured: Glenn Schwarzel celebrates his Adult Volunteer of the Year Awards night with his family the team from Macarthur Triathlon.
In addition to the Wests Sports Volunteer of the Year Awards, Wests Group Macarthur also provides a monthly awards program as well as a substantial amount of funding each year towards the ongoing success of each member club of the Wests Sports Council.
The Wests Sports Council is an integral part of Wests Group Macarthur’s commitment to sport in the region and aims to create simple pathways for community access to affordable and well-administered sporting opportunities to a network of sporting clubs and associations.
For more on the Wests Sports Council and Wests Group commitment to being the Home of Sport visit www.westslc.com.au/Sport.