RUSSELL and Libby Peucker believe being able to give back to your community is at the heart of being an Australian.
The Burnt Creek residents will share Horsham Rural City’s citizen of the year award for 2016.
The couple’s volunteering efforts and leadership will be formally recognised on Australia Day.
Mr Peucker said the accolade was a huge honour neither he nor Mrs Peucker expected.
“It’s very humbling. We work with so many different people – we’re only two in a much bigger group.” he said.
“Nobody achieves much by themselves.
“The award is great for the groups we're involved with.”
Mr Peucker has clocked about 46 years volunteering with the Country Fire Authority, including as a group officer and Green Lake Fire Brigade captain.
This wealth of experience and knowledge helped him lead recovery efforts for the 2014 Grampians bushfire.
He liaised with volunteer organisation BlazeAid, which worked with families to rebuild damaged and destroyed fencing.
“BlazeAid was a great team to work with,” he said
“Kevin and Rhonda Butler are marvellous people, who have set up the fastest-growing volunteer organisation in the country.”
Mr Peucker said he and Mrs Peucker could not do without each other’s support.
“We are absolutely a team,” he said.
Mrs Peucker agreed.
“We do everything as a team,” she said.
“We are lucky to have a lot of passionate and compassionate people around us.”
Mrs Peucker’s commitments include volunteering during the bushfire recovery, and helping with the Look Good Feel Better program, a passion she has developed since retiring from hairdressing.
The program offers workshops with make-up and wigs for cancer patients.
She also has a long-standing association with Holy Trinity Lutheran School in Horsham.
“In 1986, the Lutheran school took on job of fundraising at the Wimmera Machinery Field Days by making sandwiches,” she said.
“The school still does that in a smaller capacity today.
“We were involved with a group doing 10,000 packages with the school and Lutheran guild back in 1986.
“It’s pretty mindblowing to think.”
Mrs Peucker was also a field days committee members for 10 years.
The couple have also been involved with the Fill Green Lake campaign, and advocated for environmental water for Burnt Creek.
Mr Peucker said he looked forward to marking Australia Day.
“It's a great celebration of being Australian and being in the country,” he said.
“We are lucky to be brought up and be able to contribute to our community – it’s the essence of being Australian.
“We are darn lucky to be here.”
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