Such is Jenny Packwood's dedication to Wildlife Rescue South Coast Incorporated (WRSC) that her fellow volunteers joke she must run by a special clock with 42 hours in it a day.
The Vincentia resident is a finalist in the 2021 NSW/ACT Community Achievement Awards.
Jenny joined WRSC in 2002, and has been secretary since 2007. During that time she has witnessed the growth of the organisation from a small group of enthusiastic volunteers, through to its current size of some 500 volunteers.
She has overseen many changes, including the change of name from Native Animal Network Association (NANA) in 2011.
WRSC is a volunteer organisation that has been rescuing and rehabilitating Australian native wildlife for almost 30 years. It rescues animals from Wollongong to the Victorian border, and takes in the Southern Highlands and Tablelands.
The group's goal is to rescue injured, or orphaned, native animals, and to be able to release them free and independently back into their native habitat.
Jenny was nominated by Joy Weatherall, treasurer of WRSC. Joy said Jenny's tireless efforts since the 2019/2020 bushfires have been invaluable.
"The recent bushfires saw us handling thousands of phone calls and emails offering assistance and seeking advice. Our resources were absolutely swamped but Jenny fielded thousands of phone calls and emails, coordinated hundreds of volunteers, overseen rescue of thousands of animals, and managed to continue with the regular activities required of the secretary of a not-for-profit organisation," Joy said.
"The challenges of the 2019/2020 bushfires across NSW have certainly delivered some challenges, and placed a lot of stress on all members of WRSC, in particular the committee members but Jenny has remained stoic through all of this and has continued to oversee our compliance with all of the authorities to whom WRSC is accountable."
Training new volunteers is also a huge task. New members undertake a 'Basic Rescue and Phone' training session, before they can be authorised to rescue animals.
The group's 'phone people' are integral to the operation of WRSC, as they are all volunteers and are rostered on a 12 hour basis to operate the 24/7 rescue hotline.
Jenny has been responsible for training and mentoring these people as they learn more about the organisation.
Once members can choose to specialise in specific species, Jenny coordinated suitable courses for them. It's a requirement of NPWS that members are required to keep their training up-to-date, with some skills needing to be updated every two to three years.
"Jenny's continued determination to keep our records up-to-date, our training current and our organisation meeting all compliance requirements has meant that WRSC has grown from strength to strength. Our public profile has increased significantly in the last two years, following the bushfires," Joy said.
"Jenny's leadership has allowed WRSC to develop into a highly respected organisation in our local community, and in the broader animal rehabilitation community.
"Thank you for being the glue that has kept us all together."
Jenny will be celebrated at an awards gala presentation dinner on Friday, November 21 where the winner in five different categories will be announced.