COROWA Rescue Squad captain Jim Walliss has been coming to the aid of strangers and friends in times of emergency and tragedy for 35 years.
This year he’ll be doing it again but for the first time as Corowa and District’s Citizen of the Year.
Mr Walliss has been awarded the honour for decades of service to the rescue squad, SES and other community groups, including the Corowa Angling Club.
Asked why he had volunteered for so many years, Mr Walliss said: “All I can say is I have done it because I’ve wanted to do it. That’s it”.
The retired Telstra worker has amassed plenty of memories over the years, although not all of them are ones he wants to remember — if he can help it.
“If you can get them out alive that’s good,” Mr Walliss said.
“The worst part about it is with most jobs, being in a small town, you know the people and if you don’t know the people directly you know who the people are.
“Sometimes it gets a bit close to the bone.”
But he insisted the good parts of the role still outweighed the bad.
In the 35 years he’s been with the rescue squad — 33 of which he has spent as treasurer — he’s been a part of fund-raising efforts that have seen its headquarters transformed.
“When we started 35 years ago our meeting room was in a rented room in Wahgunyah and we used to sit on tomato boxes,” he said.
“What we’ve achieved at our club over those years has snowballed.”
Howlong and Mulwala have also announced their citizens of the year.
Mulwala has also recognised emergency services, crowning Mulwala fireman Vin Slattery with the top award.
Meanwhile May Goodear is Howlong and District’s Citizen of the Year.
Samuel Robertson is the Howlong Young Citizen of the Year.