Early birthday present for veteran
BILL EVANS was at a loss for words yesterday when he was named Richmond Valley Citizen of the Year.
A founding member of the Casino Volunteer Rescue Squad, Mr Evans is more at home cutting people out of car wrecks than speaking in front of a large audience.
“It’s a bit of a surprise,” he told the 300-plus people at the Richmond Valley Council’s Australia Day celebrations at the Ellangowan Hall yesterday morning.
“It’s a huge honour and it’s something I didn’t expect, far from it.”
Mr Evans, who will turn 70 in four days, remains an active member of the volunteer rescue squad having served continuously for just over 30 years.
He is highly trained in roadrescue techniques and specialises in rescuing people trapped in car and truck wrecks.
A life member of the squad, Mr Evans has been awarded the National Medal for service to the NSW Volunteer Rescue Association (VRA), the VRA Service Medal for service to the association, and numerous long service certificates.
Mr Evans is also a life member of the Casino Show Society, and is a foundation member of the Vanessa Anderson Memorial Cancer Care fundraising committee.
According to his colleagues in the rescue squad, the Casino and district community is ‘better and safer’ because of Mr Evans’s ‘skills and willingness to assist those in need’.
Long-time Ellangowan community volunteer Joy Munro was also nominated for the Citizen of the Year Award in recognition of her work for the Ellangowan Hall Trust.
Far North Coast representative hockey player Bailey Powell, 12, was named Sportsperson of the Year.
The Casino Under-14s netball team, which won the Division 3 State Age Championships last year, took out the award for Sporting Team of the Year.
Helen Trustum, local author and co-ordinator of the Bentley Art Prize, was named Cultural Champion of the Year, and Raylene Shang, who runs the Casino-based Jambamma Artists collective, was the Indigenous Champion of the Year.
Casino Beef Week took out the award for Richmond Valley Community Event of the Year.