Australian Rugby Union is currently accepting nominations for HSBC Volunteer of the Year - an initiative to recognise the efforts and skills of people who have contributed to the development, promotion and or advancement of Rugby Union within Australia.
Among the nominees to date is Gregory Huppatz, the Treasurer of Teachers West Rugby Union Football Club Inc. in Townsville, Queensland.
Gregory has been nominated in the Volunteer of the Year Award category and has overseen the growth of the club and its facilities from seven teams and 150 players in 2008 to 16 teams and almost 400 players in 2014.
Gregory is a manager at Queensland’s Emergency Management Rescue Helicopter Base in Townsville but still finds time to juggle a career with his passion for Rugby Union.
“The need for sport in children’s lives has been proven many times, it’s imperative for their social grounding and to be involved in a club with healthy competition is a big part of their lives,” Gregory said.
“Myself and Club President, Brendan Hume, have been a part of Teachers Rugby Union in Townsville for a number of years and it’s been a truly rewarding experience".
Through the HSBC Volunteer of the Year initiative, Australian Rugby Union and HSBC are committed to recognising the efforts of thousands of volunteers across the country that go to great lengths to ensure Rugby continues to thrive in their respective communities.
Gregory stressed the importance of volunteers to the growth of the game in Australia and provided an insight into how valuable it can be in a local community.
“I have four sons of my own, three who play and one who referees, Rugby is something my whole family enjoys. It is important to give back to the game if you’re in a position to do so and I’d like to think what I’m doing will prosper for future generations.
“I don’t think anyone does what they do for recognition, it’s just pleasing to know I can give back to the Teachers Rugby Union community.
“Rugby doesn’t survive without volunteers at the grassroots level so I hope I can encourage others to step up and give back to local clubs once their playing days are over. I think this initiative is a great start.”
Nominations are open for three volunteer categories including: HSBC Volunteer of the Year; HSBC Young Volunteer of the Year (U25); and HSBC Lifetime Volunteer of the Year.
The winning recipient of the 2014 HSBC Volunteer of the Year will be hosted at the John Eales Medal in October, with all three category winners to be announced on the night.
Nominations for the HSBC Volunteer of the Year close on Friday, 5 September. If you know someone that you want to nominate for a HSBC 2014 National Volunteer of the Year award, go to www.rugby.com.au/tryrugby.