Vol­un­teer hon­oured

South Waikato News - - NEWS - By ADEN MILES

For­est View High School teacher Ray­lene Som­merville has re­ceived the 2012 Galatti Award for AFS.

The award is the most pres­ti­gious award granted by the AFS cul­tural ex­change or­gan­i­sa­tion, which cel­e­brates the ac­com­plish­ments of out­stand­ing vol­un­teers.

Over her AFS ca­reer, Mrs Som­merville has been a locally based vol­un­teer, spent 10 years as a chair­woman of AFS New Zealand and 10 years as a vicechair­woman.

The award was made re­cently, but Mrs Som­merville said the news was bro­ken to her by an Ital­ian trustee be­fore New Zea- land of­fi­cials in­formed her.

‘‘He thought that I knew and he wrote me an email and all it said was ‘con­grat­u­la­tions from Italy and Europe’, but I didn’t know what I was be­ing con­grat­u­lated for,’’ she said.

‘‘I didn’t know any­thing ( of the nom­i­na­tion). Ev­ery coun­try nom­i­nates who they con­sider to be their top vol­un­teer and then the in­ter­na­tional board of trus­tees will make a de­ci­sion.’’

Mrs Som­merville said vol­un­teer­ing for AFS has at times felt like a sec­ond ca­reer.

How­ever, she is thrilled with

had the recog­ni­tion.

‘‘ It has to be over ev­ery­thing not just for the last year’s work. It is for out­stand­ing vol­un­teer ser­vice to the or­gan­i­sa­tion.’’

The Galatti Award was es­tab­lished in 1983 to recog­nise these con­tri­bu­tions, and it is pre­sented each year to community vol­un­teers who have pro­vided long-term sup­port.

Mrs Som­merville will re­ceive an en­graved plate and a cer­tifi­cate, pre­sented in per­son by the pres­i­dent of AFS In­ter­na­tional or a mem­ber of the in­ter­na­tional board of trus­tees, and a par­tial schol­ar­ship in her name.

RAY­LENE SOM­MERVILLE

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