by Luke Voogt
Basketball identities Lorraine Kulic and Allen McKee have become Geelong’s latest Club Legends for their tireless work volunteering for local sport.
The pair took out the top male and female prizes at the Club Legend Awards at GMHBA Stadium on Wednesday night, winning $5000 each for themselves and their clubs.
Lorraine joined Lara Giants Basketball Club’s committee eight years ago when it had just five members, according to her nomination.
She set out to secure major sponsorships for the Giants, growing the basketball club into one of Geelong’s largest.
“Lorraine is what every community needs,” her nominator said.
“I’m proud to say, not only is she my friend, vice president and my mentor, but my hero too.”
Try Boys Basketball coach Allen McKee won the men’s award for his 40 years of service to the club.
Described as the “face” of Try Boys, Allen has coached basketball at all ages for males and females.
Touch football president Rohan Greaves and Geelong West Giants’ head of football Sarah Naylor won the all-new Trailblazer awards for volunteers aged 18 to 35.
Rohan has been the “first person to show up and the last to leave each week” for 11 years at Geelong Touch Football Association, according to his nomination.
Sarah has played a key role in the merger of two clubs into Geelong West Giants and has held various admin positions while playing senior women’s football.
She holds the club’s “biggest job” coordinating players across all teams, according to her nomination.
The pair won $2500 each for themselves and their club, as did the People’s Choice winners.
Almost 4000 locals voted in the People’s Choice award, choosing Cliff Grinter and Jesse Sutton as their male and female Legends.
Cliff has served as one of St Albans Football Club’s “greatest role models” for his mammoth 75 years’ dedication to the team, according to his nomination.
The St Albans stalwart had not missed a game since joining the club in 1944, his nomination said.
Jesse was the public’s favourite female volunteer for her work at Ocean Grove Football Netball Club.
The “sweet” and “hardworking” 21-year-old had taken on “enormous” responsibility bringing people together as coach and social coordinator at the club, according to her nomination.
The category winners and finalists shared in $55,000 prize money for themselves and their respective clubs from Viva Energy.
Viva’s Geelong refinery general manager Thys Heyns described the awards as an incredible celebration the finalists’ dedication to their community.
“Volunteering is such a crucial aspect of life in Geelong,” he said.
“So it’s great to have the chance to celebrate the hard-working people who contribute so much to their clubs, their communities, and their sports.
“Viva Energy is incredibly proud to recognise these incredibly deserving winners of each category, as well as acknowledge all of the finalists and nominated volunteers.
“The sporting community of Geelong wouldn’t exist without these individuals, who are all legends in the eyes of their nominators, members and clubs they represent.”