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ESV’s Canteen Hero finalists for 2022

Every Canteen Hero nomination we received spoke about people with boundless commitment to their club, the canteen and their broader community.

Selecting a list of finalists, let alone a winner, from the stories about all these amazing people is extremely difficult. Every one of these volunteers deserves recognition and celebrating.

We congratulate everyone who was nominated – you are truly a hero to the people around you.

Nevertheless, we have selected our eight finalists for the Canteen Hero of the Year for 2022. Congratulations! Please read their stories below.

A $1000 grant will be awarded to the winner’s football club canteen for new gas appliances or electrical equipment, with the winner to be announced at the AFL Victoria 2022 Community Awards on Friday 14 October. This event will be livestreamed on the AFL Victoria Facebook page. Make sure you’re watching to see which one of these 8 nominees takes home the ESV Canteen Hero for 2022.

Julie Saunders

Crib Point Football Netball Club

For more than 40 years, Julie has run the canteen for both the senior and junior football clubs without expectation of any recognition or reward. She works hard to make a safe, fun place for all the community to enjoy, regularly updating the menu to make the canteen the best in the league.

As well as giving up her weekends to run the canteen, she prepares meals for the seniors on a Thursday night – and when the junior club was struggling for volunteers to run the canteen, Julie came to the rescue.

During Covid, Julie started a community support group to provide a weekly meal package to over 50 elderly, unwell and vulnerable members of the Crib Point community.

“Julie makes all this wonderful food happen without the greatest equipment and storage facilities and never complains.”

“The club would be lost without her, she’s a great inspiration to all and appreciated especially for her loving nature and fun personality.”

Shelly Wunhym

Wesburn Junior Football Club

Shelly is the backbone of the Wesburn Football Club. She puts in countless hours before and after games, for pie nights and stock take during the week. Shelly greets everyone with the biggest welcoming smiles.

On a Sunday morning, Shelly ensures everyone has a hot breakfast, midday lunch and sometimes even early dinner to satisfy their hunger while watching their children play the game they all love.

Each week Shelley puts her heart and soul into the organisation and the running of her young sons’ junior footy club alongside her husband, Tony. If it wasn’t for these two amazing humans we probably wouldn’t be able to continue running our small country town’s junior club.

Unfortunately, this year Shelley lost her father – but not before she provided him support, taking him to medical appointments, caring for him physically and emotionally and continuing to work her daytime job and provide for her family. She never gave up on her canteen commitment, either.

“Shelly definitely wears her super power apron/cape 24/7!”

Carmen and Leo Glass

Yackandandah Football Netball Club

This couple is the ‘glue’ of the club. “They are purely amazing!”  They have a fantastic system and it works like clockwork. They will tell you it’s all due to the team of supporters, but everyone knows the club would be lost without them.

They have been running the YFNC canteen for the past 6 years and go above and beyond. It is often said they have the best canteen in the Tallangatta league. With Carmen’s love for food, the canteen has gone from your standard pies and hot chips to soup of the day, chicken subs, roast gravy rolls, amazing salad rolls, nachos, hot jam donuts, home-made slices, and more – all made with the best ingredients.

As well as her food, Carmen is also known for her good humour. She makes sure there are volunteers every week, calling on the netballers and footballers each week to put in their bit. Leo is a general in the canteen, ensuring everyone is comfortable and enjoying their time volunteering. People are happy to go back each week to have a yarn and a laugh with Leo.

“Her wonderful food and good humour is known throughout the League. She runs a well-oiled team and has a lot of helpers because she is so easy to work with.”

Donna Price

Yarra Junction Football and Netball Club

It seems that if there were no Donna, there would be no canteen at the YJFNC… not to mention she’s famous for her gravy. Donna is there all day every day, making sure the canteen runs smoothly and everyone gets chips!

Donna is always at the club and steps up to take on jobs that aren’t really her responsibility but she loves the club. She has never been asked to run the canteen but she does it anyway. She does all the ordering, all the preparation, a majority of the cooking and all the set up and clean up.

“Donna is the first to arrive and the last to leave on game day. She is a star. We wouldn’t survive without Donna.”

Tracy Bakos

Lindenow South Football Netball Club

Tracy has been involved with the Lindenow South Football Netball club for over 10 years, being the under 16’s team manager, canteen manager and committee member all while jumping in to help at the bar! Tracy was awarded Life Membership of the LSFNC in 2021.

Tracy goes above and beyond making the canteen one of the best in the area, trying new things to keep the menu interesting and healthy while also providing treats for the kids. She often manages Thursday night meals, including making cupcakes for the kids – as long as they have eaten all their dinner! She encourages good manners from every child who visits the canteen and serves everyone with a smile on her face.

Tracy is the first there in the morning and generally the last one out the door. The canteen relies on her diligence, commitment and energy.

“Tracy is always the first person to put her hand up when it comes to helping. Our canteen would be nothing without her hard work and dedication.”

Vicki Short

Roxburgh Park Magpies Football Club

Vicki is the treasurer, canteen coordinator, bar manager and meal night chef as well as being the loudest supporter at every juniors, seniors and netball game. She is there Saturdays, keeping the operation running in the canteen and bar. She also fills in as team manager for any team that needs it.

Vicki is at the club on Thursdays, cooking meals for more than 60 people while also helping out during the week for school footy. She has inspired everyone at the club to work hard, supporting their family and their community at the same time.

“Vicki is considered the heart of the club and everyone knows when Vicki is in the room, she makes everyone around her happier.”

Julie Nolan

Wangaratta Rovers

Julie is the heart and soul of the Wangaratta Rovers canteen and catering team. She contributes countless hours on game day and during the week to ensure everything goes off without a hitch – her work ethic is second to none.

Julie often misses seeing her sons play footy or her daughter play netball when she’s running the canteen, but she always fronts up with a smile, a kind word of encouragement to all players and delicious fare.

“Whether it be running the kiosk, organising the making of salad rolls and sandwiches at 8am each home game, coordinating Thursday night post-training dinners, or even temporarily running the entry gate to cover while someone is having their break, Julie is never one to shy away or complain.”

Sharon Carmody

Wangaratta Tigers Junior Football Club

Sharon single-handedly keeps the canteen up and running. She always takes the time to help other volunteers to ensure that they know what they’re doing.

Sharon spends her entire day in the canteen, sacrificing the opportunity to watch her son play. She does all this every week and is always the first person to greet you with a smile.

Sharon manages everything from volunteer rosters to shopping, cooking, maintenance and inventory and cleaning. She is the first one there before the under 12s game at 8am and does not leave until the under 17s finish, keeping the canteen open until well after the final game to ensure players don’t go home hungry.

”Without Sharon’s tireless efforts each week our club would cease to function. She is a legend of our club and deserves to be recognised.”

“Sharon is to the Wangaratta Tigers’ canteen what Michael Tuck was to Hawthorn. She is the unsung hero who every week keeps the canteen ticking along, without fanfare or fuss.”

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