NSW SES City of Newcastle deputy unit commander Graeme Silver is a humble, but worthy, winner of the 2020 Newcastle Volunteer Service Award.
The popular Novocastrian has spent the past four decades – and more – helping people across the Hunter through many incidents and emergencies, including the 1989 Newcastle earthquake, 2007 Pasha Bulker storm and 2015 flood event.
After starting in a volunteer rescue role 41 years ago, the former NSW Ambulance inspector, who retired in 2018, remains with the NSW SES as an active member.
He currently holds the position of deputy local controller and continues to serve the residents of Newcastle, and greater Hunter, with selfless dedication and genuine heroism.
“I’m truly honoured to receive this,” Mr Silver said.
“Any nominee would have been deserving of [winning] it. But, it’s not the only volunteering I undertake.
“I am also a board member, and helper, for The Beacon Newcastle, a group which formed some time ago to assist those who service us in, or for, the community.
“I was a volunteer as a peer support officer with NSW Ambulance up to the day I retired, too.
“I still make contact with the paramedics now.
“So, I accept this award for all the Newcastle and Hunter volunteers who service our community.”
Newcastle MP Sharon Claydon had nothing but admiration for Mr Silver.
“It was an honour to be able to recognise his incredible service to Newcastle and the Hunter over more than four decades,” she said.
“Volunteers like Graeme are the glue that have held our community together through some of the toughest chapters in our city’s history.
“They are the lifeblood of our region but too often they don’t get the recognition they deserve.”
Ms Claydon, who delivers the awards, added volunteers had made a huge contribution to the community during the coronavirus crisis.
“Despite the many challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown at us, I’ve been incredibly heartened by the surge in volunteering efforts to ensure that no one in Newcastle is left feeling isolated and alone,” she said.
“The spontaneous creation of neighbourhood groups and the overnight transformation of local cafes into community kitchens and corner stores was life-saving for many.
“Novocastrians demonstrated that when the going gets really tough, we come together to support each other.”