A Wagin stalwart has been recognised for his contribution to town life and has donated his $10,000 prize money to the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
Brenden Hall, the branch manager of Wagin’s Bankwest branch, was last night named as the 2018 Bankwest Volunteer of the Year in recognition for his long-standing support of the life of the town.
He said the RFDS was a service close to his heart.
"My mum had an ectopic pregnancy before I was born so if they weren't around, I wouldn't be here," he said.
"Then dad had a serious heart attack and they saved his life as well. They've also made a couple of other trips out for other members of my family.
"We're in the middle of nowhere so we'd be lost without the service. If the prize was for me, I probably wouldn't want to take it but to be able to give it to the RFDS, that was just amazing."
Thirty-three-year old Brenden has been at Bankwest in the town for more than 14 years and described his role as being a "jack of all trades."
"There’s only me and one other colleague here most of the time, so we’re across everything – dealing with customers’ queries, meeter and greeter, teller, manager - and whatever else is needed to keep the branch running," he said.
But it was his work outside of his nine-to-five which earned him the recognition and to say Brenden is passionate about helping others is an understatement.
A fire and emergency services volunteer for more than 10 years, he is an office bearer for the Wagin Volunteer Fire Brigade and volunteers at every one of the sporting clubs he plays with, including cricket, basketball, hockey and darts.
"Someone's got to do it, so I try to treat it like a job and not get too emotionally involved, but I do wear my heart on my sleeve, so it's hard," he said.
"We can't follow up each case we attend, because it would be our undoing, but at the end of the day, we know that we're doing something which means a lot to somebody else - and, really, I wouldn't have it any other way.
"I like being busy and I like how it makes me feel. Sports and volunteering are how we keep our little towns running. I've done it for so long that I'd be lost without it."
Brenden takes great care to point out that the challenging times are greatly outweighed by saving people's lives and making a difference – and the volunteering spirit runs in his family.
"Both my parents and my nana have always been very active volunteers but my biggest inspiration is following in the footsteps of my pop, who has the local Wagin Ambulance Sub Centre named after him," said Brenden.
Brenden's grandfather Rodney Pederick was a volunteer firefighter, then ambulance officer for 34 years.
He passed away when Brenden was younger, but Brenden maintains the family connection by having lunch with his grandma every day - and she gets a kick out of him volunteering just like his pop.
Bankwest General Manager of Personal and Business Banking, Donna Dalby, congratulated Brenden, saying he was "the epitome of a pillar of the community".
"He is so passionate about his home town, it’s infectious," she said.
"In fact a line in his beloved grandfather’s epitaph could have been written about him – ‘He was a person who was interested in the wellbeing of his fellow man and could always find time to lend a sympathetic ear to anybody who had a problem and he would always assist to the best of his ability’."
The Royal Flying Doctor Service thanked Brenden for the donation.
RFDS Western Operations CEO Rebecca Tomkinson said: "We know first-hand the impact individuals like Brenden have in creating change and outcomes in our communities and the value of Brenden’s effort and commitment to volunteering cannot be underestimated.
"I’m sure he inspires all those he works and interacts with.
"Brenden’s donation will go towards supporting our delivery of essential health services at remote and rural communities across the state, the maintenance and operational costs of our current fleet and in the purchasing of a wide range of the latest medical equipment.
"On behalf of our teams and patients across the state, thank you so much for choosing the RFDS for your generous donation."