Karen Clarke, nominee for Volunteer of the Year doing her thing at Currumbin VMR.
Karen Clarke, nominee for Volunteer of the Year doing her thing at Currumbin VMR. Blainey Woodham

Karen's devotion recognised

Without people like Karen Clarke, community and not-for-profit organisations would barely function.

Elanora local Ms Clarke has devoted her life to helping others, and now she is up for an award for her valuable contribution.

As part of International Volunteers Day, Volunteering Gold Coast is holding awards to recognise volunteers in the community.

Nominee for Volunteer of the Year, Ms Clarke, could not be more deserving.

Volunteer Marine Rescue Currumbin’s Joanne Partridge nominated Ms Clarke for the award, saying the work she did was incredible.

“I first met Karen at Volunteer Marine Rescue where she has been a radio officer, fundraiser, organiser and treasurer over the past eight years,” Ms Partridge said.

“She was the person the organisation really pivoted on.”

Ms Clarke devotes many hours a week at Volunteer Marine Rescue, an organisation which looks out for troubled boaties at Currumbin.

On top of this, she is a full-time carer for her mother, who has Alzheimer’s, and her sister, who is disabled from a motor accident.

She also cares for her severely diabetic 17-year -old nephew John, whom she took in when he was just 11 years old, after his mother passed away.

When Ms Clarke was told about the nomination, she couldn’t believe it.

“I just thoroughly enjoy doing something for the community,” she said.

“All my volunteer work is an outlet from my carer’s duties.

“It’s my downtime.”

“I used to be a banker so I enjoy taking on the treasury positions.”

Ms Clarke is treasurer of the Currumbin RSL Ladies Auxiliary, where she has volunteered for the past four years, and has also been treasurer of the Currumbin Valley Riding for the Disabled for the last eight years.

“I take my sister out to ride horses once a week and I do the books there as well.”

With everything on her plate, there is not a hint of resentfulness or bitterness in Ms Clarke’s demeanour.

“It’s just my lot in life,” she said.

“It’s been hard at times but a lot of people in the world have it much worse.”

Ms Partridge said Karen had never said “no” to a person or organisation in need.

“She never rolls her eyes when she says yes, it’s always with a smile and a ‘no problem’ attitude,” she said.

“Without Karen, VMR Currumbin would barely stand.

“She wears many hats in the organisation.”

Volunteering Gold Coast organises local celebrations for International Volunteers Day annually, recognising the efforts of all volunteers on the Gold Coast.

The Awards Ceremony were held on Sunday at the Sheraton Mirage.

Leticia Vargas from Volunteering Gold Coast hosted the event alongside Keegan Buzza from 102.9FM Hot Tomato.

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