Local Coolup resident Raalin Wheeler has been awarded as the 2017 Western Australian Volunteer of the Year at the recent Gala Awards in Perth.
Mr Wheeler was nominated by the Shire of Murray for his ongoing commitment to the safety of the community through building the self-funded Wheeler Airfield, which played a pivotal role in extinguishing the Waroona-Yarloop bushfires in 2016.
Wheeler Airfield is considered one of the state’s most imperative forward fire bases, and has been used each year since its construction in 1997.
“Raalin’s vision and personal commitment has directly impacted our community, saving countless lives, property and livestock over the past two decades,” Shire president Maree Reid said.
“He is a quiet achiever who has committed countless hours with little recognition and who prior to recent feats, received no financial assistance.”
In 2016 a partnership with the Shire of Murray was formed, raising over $450,000 in funding toward facility upgrades, including a second runway, a larger dam and installation of a bore to secure water supply.
“On behalf of our community, the Shire thanks Raalin for his selfless service to Murray and the surrounding Peel region,” Ms Reis said.
“We’d also like to acknowledge and thank his wife Maureen for her ongoing support behind the scenes.”
Mr. Wheeler was also nominated for the 2017 WA Volunteer of the Year and People’s Choice ‘Spirit of Volunteering’ Award.