10 Mar MEET A LOCAL VOLUNTEER – FRANK MCKEE
Meet the Gladstone Region’s Citizen of the Year – Frank McKee
Where do you volunteer?
I volunteer mainly in the Boyne Valley and the surrounding area.
How long have you been volunteering there for?
I first started volunteering in 1970 when I first moved to the Boyne Valley.
What do you do there? (All your various duties…)
I have always strived to make my area that little bit better. Originally, I organised a team of residents to conduct hazard reduction burns, before we even had a rural fire brigade. We then formed our Many Peaks Brigade under Bundaberg area office. Later we transferred to Rockhampton. We are now in Gladstone area. I have been 1st Officer, Secretary, treasurer and service man, maintaining all our machinery, until recently on a voluntary basis. I went on the become Deputy, then Group Officer for the Port Curtis Region, and fostered good relations with our neighbouring Group, Miriam Vale. This interactivity stull carries on today.
I also joined our local Progress committee, holding offices of president, secretary, treasurer and vice president, since 1970 till the present day. Duties include upkeep of the hall and grounds, and organising social events during the year. I was one of the projectionists when we showed movies in the Builyan hall, and we held dances and sports days as well as fashion parades, cent sales, market days and our popular Australia Day Breakfasts.
I became part of the Builyan P & C, much of the time as president, for about 25 years. Then it was on to the High school bus committee for a further 7 years. During this time, I was involved in the successful push to get the road sealed from Kalpowar to the end of the tar toward Monto.
In the mid-80s, the Railway Dam at Many Peaks was no longer needed by QR, and it was handed back to the community, under the trusteeship of the Calliope Shire Council. I rallied support, and the locals, with help from Boyne Valley and Gladstone businesses, worked for almost 30 years to refurbish the dam and bring it back to life. This was enhanced by Gladstone Regional Council with the recently opened park and lookout named after Frank and Barb McKee.
I have been involved with the Boyne Valley Community Discovery Centre, both in the building as well as the maintenance, and also support functions held there. This is ongoing. I also support any organisations holding working bees, whether I am a member or not, whenever I can. It all helps. We have three community centres within the Boyne Valley, and we all struggle for members and man power.
I have been a director of the Calliope and District Community Bank Branch for almost 5 years. This is another way to help my community, and I enjoy the challenge.
What is your favourite thing about volunteering?
What was the highlight this year? Being recognised for all the work I have done for my community with the honour of being awarded “Citizen of the Year” for the Gladstone Region.
What would you say to encourage others to volunteer?
You never know how big you are till you stand up and give it a go. Try it, you will love seeing the results make life so much better for everyone.