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Community comes first for Jess

13 Jul, 2021

Wodonga Council employee Jessica Zuber has always put community first.

When the young people’s library officer is not organising programs and events for the city’s library, she is often dedicating her time to the Chiltern SES.

This year she celebrates seven years with the important volunteer organisation, including four years as the unit controller.

“We have great people in the SES and it helps that it’s fun to be around these people, especially when we have training on at 7pm and no one wants to go out in the middle of winter,” she said.

Ms Zuber’s hard work and commitment, often dedicating more than 10 hours a week to the role and recruiting many volunteers over the years, has resulted in a state award.

The Weekly Times, in conjunction with the Powercor Country Festival, named Ms Zuber as this year’s Coles Emergency Responder winner in the Heart Volunteer Awards.

The awards celebrate rural volunteers in the categories of Sport, Community, Coles Emergency Responder and Junior Volunteer.

Ms Zuber is modest about the win.

“It’s nice to be recognised but it’s a team effort and some acknowledgement should also go to my workplace,” she said.

Ms Zuber said her responsibility to keep the town of Chiltern safe would not be possible without an understanding employer.

“Work are great, they let me go when I need to and are supportive of my volunteer role,” she said.

Most recently, the Chiltern team offered assistance at Kilmore after severe weather at the start of June as well as lending a hand during the 2020 bushfires.

The Chiltern unit also helped with checking permits at the Vic-NSW border checkpoint over the Christmas period.

Over the years, Ms Zuber has volunteered for the CFA, Red Cross, Ambulance Victoria and the Good Friday Appeal.

Ms Zuber has some words of encouragement for those thinking of becoming involved with a community organisation.

“Absolutely do it, it’s rewarding in so many ways,” she said.