It is with sincere pleasure and pride we announce that our very own Dr Hamish Russell is the recipient of The Premier’s Award for Victorian Senior of the Year: Outstanding contribution to local community and Victoria.
The Victorian Senior of the Year Awards acknowledge older Victorians who volunteer to assist, support and encourage others in their communities. The Awards are a partnership between the Department of Health and Human Services and Council on the Ageing (COTA), Victoria. I had the privilege of being present at the awards yesterday and the experience was incredibly moving with all of Hamish’s family present to witness him receiving this prestigious award.
Hamish is the Chair of the Inspiro Community Advisory Group (CAG) and valued member of the Quality and Clinical Governance Committee. He has made an extraordinary contribution to community wellbeing through his longstanding and significant volunteering with many diverse organisations ranging from health, through to environment, animal husbandry, cultural exchange and social wellbeing. Since retiring at a relatively young age he has dedicated 24 years to volunteering in his local community of the Shire of Yarra Ranges and Cardinia Shire.
His approach to volunteering and helping others has always been “If an opportunity comes up, say ‘yes’ unless there are totally compelling reasons to say ‘no’. Saying yes opens up the sheer opportunities that exist to do things with other people”.
Some of Hamish's key achievements include:
- Establishing a Tertiary Health Scholarship program (now known as the Inspiro Tertiary Health Scholarships) for students in the Yarra Ranges in 2000
- Championing the collection of longitudinal data on community health and wellbeing with the Council of Shire of Yarra Ranges
- Successfully amalgamating 9 public gardens in the Dandenong Ranges under one scheme
- Establishing the Yarra Ranges Health building in 2008, co-locating Yarra Ranges Health, Inspiro Community Health and Mainstreet Medical Clinic
- Creating access to eye surgery, remote cancer treatment and other day surgery treatments through Yarra Ranges Health
- Informing the growth and model of community health services at Ranges Community Health to better serve the needs of the Yarra Ranges community
Hamish’s great standing in the community and deep knowledge of health and the community resulted in invitations to volunteer on the Boards and Committees of other health organisations and projects including:
- Caladenia Dementia Care
- Lilydale Super Clinic Community Advisory Group
- Ranges Community Health / Inspiro
- Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network (EMPHN)
This is not the first time Hamish’s contribution to the community has been recognised. He was awarded the Citizen of the Year for 2005 and received a letter of appreciation under seal from the Council of the Shire of Yarra Ranges in 2010 for his “…extraordinary commitment to public service in Yarra Ranges.”