RFDS volunteer Rene GIllis

Rene recognised for exceptional service

Date published

16 May 2023

In celebration of National Volunteer Week (15 – 21 May), the RFDS was honoured to present long-serving volunteer Rene Gillis with a Meritorious Service Award.

When it comes to raising much-needed funds for the RFDS, Whyalla local Rene is as passionate as they come.

Rene is an inaugural member of the RFDS Whyalla Support Group (formed in 2008) and has been the Group’s Treasurer since 2009. The Group has raised more than $460,000 since its inception.

Most weekends, you can find the Support Group outside the local Whyalla supermarket, putting on their famed barbecues and selling freshly-baked cakes and jams to help raise funds and awareness for the Flying Doctor. Last year they raised a whopping $30,000 from snags alone.

RFDS volunteer Rene Gillis
Photo: RFDS volunteer Rene Gillis.

“Rene is dedicated to raising as many funds for the RFDS and she makes sure we get better at it each and every year,” RFDS Whyalla Support Group President Frank Curtis said.

“People seem to gravitate to her when it comes to helping the RFDS raise funds.”

Rene is well known in Whyalla for her dedication to the local community – so much so, she was awarded the regional city’s Senior Citizen of the Year in 2017.

RFDS SA/NT Chief Executive Tony Vaughan ASM said Rene exemplified the generous community spirit on which the Flying Doctor relies.

“RFDS Meritorious Awards are not handed out lightly – they not only recognise the length of service, but also the quality of service by volunteers,” he said.

“As one of our fantastic Support Group members, Rene has been incredibly dedicated in supporting the RFDS for 15 years and counting. It’s people like Rene across our regional and remote communities who really do keep the Flying Doctor flying.”

RFDS volunteer Rene Gillis
Photo: Rene was presented her award in front of staff at the RFDS Adelaide Base.

There are 24 volunteer RFDS Support Groups spanning South Australia and the Northern Territory. Find out more about our groups from Lindy Allchurch on (08) 8238 3333 or lindy.allchurch@flyingdoctor.net.