Two local women recognised for their volunteer efforts

Cobar Cadets leader Colleen Boucher is one of two local women who volunteer their time to the community who have this year been added to the Hidden Treasures Honour Roll.

Two Cobar women have this year been added to the Hidden Treasures Honour Roll which celebrates rural women who generously volunteer their time to their communities.

Cobar Cadets leader Colleen Boucher and Emmdale Roadhouse proprietor Virginia Beard were this year added to the prestigious list of more than 1,000 rural women volunteers.

The Hidden Treasures Honour Roll is
an initiative of the Department of Primary Industries’ Rural Women’s Network and
aims to highlight the outstanding efforts of women volunteers in NSW and promote the valuable role of volunteering in the community.

Minister for Agriculture and Western NSW Adam Marshall said the impact that volunteers like Colleen and Virginia have on our way of life is extraordinary.

“The celebration of these volunteers is an important part of ensuring their work is respected as a deeply valuable element in our community network,” Mr Marshall said.

He said despite the tough times we’ve all found ourselves in this year, it was important to take the time to recognise all the volunteers who have supported our community.

Mrs Boucher was nominated for the work she does in our community with the Cobar Cadets, a role she has held since 1996.

“I’m a bit overwhelmed,” Mrs Boucher told The Cobar Weekly on Friday.

“I like working with kids. I find it rewarding and it puts a smile on my face,” she said.

“They start out at 12 and a half and go through to 18 and you see this drastic change in everything about them.

“The skills they learn through cadets carry on through all aspects of their lives.”

Mrs Boucher said she felt a great sense of satisfaction to see some of her cadets go on and join the army but also seeing other cadets that go on to excel in other careers or other areas of their lives.

“I get calls from cadets when they are doing their basic (army) training to let me know how they are going and I’m also still in touch with a number of former cadets through Facebook who send me messages each month or so.”

Not only has Mrs Boucher earned the respect from Cobar cadets in her role but also from other cadets from around the region that she has worked with over the years.

Mrs Boucher’s nomination also recognizes her volunteer work as president of the Country Branch of the Women’s Association, as treasurer of the RSL Sub Branch, Legacy and treasurer of the Brennan Centre aged care facility.

For more than 10 years Virginia Beard has operated the Emmdale Roadhouse, an isolated fuel and food rest stop between Cobar and Wilcannia.

For much of the time she’s been there, the area has been in drought.

Since 2013 Ms beard has been fighting for a permanent water supply after the Coonavitta Tank went dry and has been looking at
ways for the area’s residents to be able to access a permanent water supply through bore water.

In addition to running her business and going above and beyond to help stranded or ill-prepared travellers, Ms Beard also operates and maintains the local airstrip for the Royal Flying Doctor Service to respond to medical emergencies and road accidents.

Ms Beard’s nomination said that she has a very strong sense of community and is a highly valued member of the Emmdale community.