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Community Spirit Recognised

Five rewarded for dedication

by Mark Peters

IN HONOUR of their community spirit, Gisborne Volunteers who support causes from autism to alternative education have been acknowledged in a presentation at the Gisborne East Coast Council of Social Services AGM. 

Known as the Nan Evans Awards, the certificates are awarded annually to organisations or individuals for "strength of spirit and dedicated work for the community".

Nan Evans was a founding member for Gisborne East Coast Council of Social Services (GISCOSS)  and an inspirational community leader.

GISCOSS is a network which gathers monthly to share information and provide support for agencies and client groups.

Nominated by Gisborne Cancer Society, Cancer Societies Volunteers Leader Christine West was awarded for enthusiasm and dedication to the society. Deputy Mayor Nana Aston says Mrs West lives her values and balances her home life with her support for the community.

Kevin Francis was nominated by Tauawhi Mens Centre for his support. Mr Francis said his main reason for doing volunteer work was to give him something to do with his time.

"I try to treat volunteer work as a 'real job'. This might sound strange my psychologically it makes a difference. I beleive uts what got me off the couch and stopped me feeling sorry for myself, so I want to give something back to the community"

Retired Teacher John Griffin was nominated by Hayley McKevitt of Gisborne Police for his supportive work with youth. Mr Griffin also works voluntarily at alternative Education Centre Te Ora Hou.

Volunteer Angela Rodenhurst was nominated by autism NZ Tairawhiti for her outstanding dedication to the organisation. Mrs Rodenhurst does voluntary work for other community organisations including the Salvation Army and Free2Be which sponsors children in Africa and helps them become self sufficent through establishing micro businesses.

Nominated by Hospice Tairawhiti, Zillah Smith was acknowledged for her involvement with the hospice for more than 20 years and her support for the elderly.

Mrs Smith's volunteer roles include paitent and family support worker, coorganiser of the support group and orgainser and participant of the hospice songsters.

Mrs Smith also volunteers for Meals on Wheels and is secretay of the Gisborne Hospital Parish.

Community Champions:

The five recipients of the Nan Evans awards, which celebrate individuals' "strength of spirit and dedicated work for the community", are (back and second left to right) Christine West, Kevin Francis, John Giffin, and far right with Ben O'Hara in arms, Angela Rodenhurst. Holding an award on behlaf of his mother Zillah Smith is Chris Smith(Front). Nominators are (back left) Tim Marshall and Nicole McGregor who is holding Mrs Rodenhursts award. Front Row nominators are (left) Nona Aston, GISCOSS chairwoman Leslynne Jackson, Heidi Stander and (far right) Hayley McKevitt.

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