Bairnsdale ambulance volunteer Maurice Williams has received an Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award for his commitment to the local ambulance service dating back to the 1950s.

Announced during National Volunteer Week, the 2015 Minister for Health Volunteer Awards recognise the dedication and commitment of volunteers at Victoria’s health services.

From providing advice and support on telephone information helplines, to promoting awareness and advocating for better care and services, to spending time with patients at the bedside, volunteers are vital to the health and wellbeing of the community.

The Awards, now in their seventh year, also recognise people who have spent a lifetime volunteering, as well as young volunteers who are already impressing with their commitment to helping others.

Maurice Williams was one of the first casual ambulance drivers in the Bairnsdale area back in the early 1950s, and was a founding member of the Bairnsdale Ambulance Op Shop the 1960s.

For over 65 years, Maurice has displayed a commitment to patient care, the ambulance station and his community.

Maurice has worked in all positions within the Auxiliary, including as President, and he continues to show his commitment to the Auxiliary by contributing to the monthly committee meetings and helping out at working bees.

Maurice spent countless hours working to establish the op shop, and was involved in the purchase of the new land and in fundraising to build the new $1 million ambulance complex.

Today, the Op Shop raises over $40,000 each year to upgrade and supply new equipment to assist Ambulance Victoria.

The 2015 Minister for Health Volunteer Awards received 94 entries from 57 organisations including hospitals, ambulance services, community health, mental health and aged care services.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Health, Jill Hennessy

“Health volunteers make a remarkable difference in supporting the most frail, sick and vulnerable people in our community.”

“I congratulate Maurice on his kindness and generosity and commitment to the local Bairnsdale ambulance service for over 65 years. What a truly amazing man.”

Quotes attributable to Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Harriet Shing

“Volunteers are the heart and soul of communities all over Gippsland.”

“Volunteering brings so many people together in so many ways and I extend my very warmest thanks and congratulations to Mr Williams for his contribution to Bairnsdale.”