An Alexandra volunteer has this week been honoured by Health Minister Andrew Little.
Central Otago Living Options nominated Nigel Winter for the community or NGO health service individual award, part of the 2022 Minister of Health Volunteer Awards. On Monday he was named runner-up in the category.
Living Options operations manager Olivia Wildey said Mr Winter, whose son Logan has a disability, had been volunteering for the organisation for the past five years, during which time he had been a “tremendous advocate” for them, and supported parents to navigate the disability sector.
Based in Invercargill, Ms Wildey said he had travelled more than 27,131km journeys to Alexandra and back more than 800 hours, expecting nothing in return “apart from getting the satisfaction of knowing he is contributing to what Living Options does, which is enriching the lives of people with disabilities we support”.
He had completely repainted one of the trust’s houses, refurbished its garage and completed an extensive garden makeover, as well as organising a team of other Invercargill volunteers to help.
Ms Wildey said he completed that project over weekends and took a week off his full-time job to finish it off.
He also paid to hire equipment, and for the paint, and has since regularly travelled to look after the garden, lawns and carry out maintenance at two properties where people with disabilities live.
Mr Winter also sourced donations of gardening equipment, including lawn mowers and hedge trimmers, and “anonymously” bought Santa sacks, which Ms Wildey said were “just magical”.