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John’s grass is green on both sides of the fence

Geoff Helisma Yamba Bowling Club’s John Luchetti has been named Bowls Australia’s 2017 Volunteer of the Year. While honoured to have received the award at the Crowne Plaza Surfers Paradise, Mr Luchetti was also humbled. “This is not a dream come true,” he said. “Who dreams of being a volunteer? It’s just something you do.” Mr Luchetti said he didn’t necessarily feel deserving of the title “because I know how many people around the regions do what I do every day”. “I’m not really the best volunteer in Australia, I’m just doing what so many do,” he said. “The big thing for me: I was able to say that I accept the award on behalf of all volunteers and thank the governing body for acknowledging the input of volunteers Australia-wide.” Mr Luchetti said, in reality, “80 per cent clubs in country areas are not even aware there are awards for volunteering; there are many more deserving people out there”. “I [recently] stopped off at a number of bowling clubs coming back from Gympie – clubs that did not serve liquor or have poker machines – all run by volunteers; if not for them they would not exist,” he said. Notably, during the time Mr Luchetti has volunteered at the Yamba club, he has “excelled by patiently developing several bowlers with special needs to the stage where they now possess the necessary confidence and skill levels to regularly participate in social bowls and certain club championships”, the club’s submission to Bowls Australia stated. “John is heavily committed to the promotion of the sport of bowls within the community, and regularly volunteers his time in club activities and initiatives including school coaching programs, community, family and business competitions and club open and social day visits. “A willing worker around the club, John assists with the running of the club championships, tournaments and official bowls programs and also assists in the maintenance and preparation of the greens.” Mr Luchetti was also a finalist for Bowls NSW’s 2017 Volunteer of the Year Award.