2020 AFL Sapphire Coast Volunteers of the Year

2020, the year unlike no other!

It started with catastrophic bush fires on our front door step which significantly impacted many members of our region, and also own football community. And as we started to get back to some normality, the COVID-19 crisis hit which seemed certain to stop us from playing footy in 2020 at all.
But our footy clubs and the army of volunteers worked tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure we got a season underway and could operate in a COVID-Safe environment.
On top of the added burden of following the strict COVID protocols, footy club volunteers went about their normal role giving countless hours each week, month, and year organising player recruitment, sponsorship, uniforms, club functions, playing equipment, coaching sessions, canteens, and match day co-ordination. Many of our volunteers take on multiple roles to ensure that all club functions are covered for the benefit of club members.
AFL Sapphire Coast would like to take this opportunity to thank all club and Auskick volunteers for the invaluable work they do in any given season, and especially so for their efforts in these challenging times of 2020. Most of the work that volunteers undertake is done out of the public gaze but is never unappreciated by us.

And for that reason, it seems unfair to just single out one (or in this case two) volunteers out, however two individuals from our football community went above and beyond on many fronts, highlighting the critical role sport, and in our case Australian Rules Football, plays in local communities.

It is with great pleasure that we announce that the joint 2020 AFL Sapphire Coast Volunteers of the Year are Jason Raeck of the Merimbula Diggers and Nic Crowe of the Eden Whalers.

In any ‘normal’ year, both Jas and Nic would be more than worthy winners for the tireless work they put in week-in-week-out behind the scenes for 12 months of the year, to ensure their football club gets players on the park and matches played, but 2020 they did so much more. During the bush fires over January, both Nic and Jason jumped to action when locals and tourists alike needed help, and ensured that their home grounds (Berrambool Oval and Barclay St Oval) were opened and available to be used as emergency evacuation centres. And were they ever! 100’s and 100’s of people utilised the grounds and clubs services over numerous days and both clubs, led by Nic and Jason, provided their temporary residents with everything they needed – from hot showers and running water, to food and drink, to lighting and most importantly safety.

To try and list the number of roles that Jason and Nic fulfill for their club in a football sense would not do justice to the work they do. I know how much Jas and Nic are respected and admired from within their own clubs, but also the wider Sapphire Coast community – not just football circles.

Both humble and unassuming, Jas and Nic are selfless individuals who don’t do any of their work for praise or thanks, but to provide the best environment for their club and the code in the Sapphire Coast.

Jason and Nic – we salute you, and thank you for all of your efforts not just across 2020, but for so many years prior!