2020 AFL South Coast Volunteer of the Year – Jaimie Petterwood

2020, the year unlike any other!

It started with the catastrophic bush fires on our front door step which significantly impacted many members of our region, and also sadly own football community directly. And as we tried to get back to some sort of normality and forget about the horrors of January, the COVID-19 crisis hit which seemed certain to stop us from playing any football at all in 2020.

But as always, our football clubs which play a critical role in our towns and communities, and the army of volunteers that come with them, worked tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure we got a season underway and could operate in a “COVID-Safe” environment.

On top of the added burden of following the strict COVID protocols put in place, footy club volunteers continued to go about their usual roles giving countless hours each week and month organising player recruitment, sponsorship, uniforms, playing equipment, coaching sessions, canteens, and match day co-ordination. Many of our volunteers take on multiple roles to ensure that all club functions are covered for the benefit of club members.

AFL South Coast would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our army of club and Auskick volunteers for the invaluable work they do in any given season, and especially so for their efforts in 2020, the most challenging of years we have ever experienced. Much of the work that each of our volunteers undertake is done out of the public gaze but is never forgotten by us.

And for that reason, it seems somewhat unfair to just single out just one volunteer across our great league, however the actions of one individual (and their husband) from our football community went above and beyond time and time again on many fronts. This dedication, and the outcomes this person and their club achieved were extraordinary, not just for their clubs members, but their wider community, once again highlights the critical role that sport, and in our case Australian Rules Football, plays in local communities.

And on that note, it is with genuine pride that we announce that the 2020 AFL South Coast Volunteer of the Year is Jaimie Petterwood of the Batemans Bay Seahawks.

In any typical football season, Jaime (and husband Heath), would have been a more than worthy winner of our prestigious Volunteer of the Year award for the tireless work that she puts in week-in-week-out behind the scenes, for 12 months of the year, to ensure the Batemans Bay Football Club gets juniors on the field and matches played.

But in 2020, Jaimie has done so much more! Following the horrific bush fires which devastated the very suburb Jaime and Heath live in, Jaime and Heath jumped to action when locals, and in particular members of their own football club needed help the most. Jaimie and Heath along with the Batemans Bay Seahawks committee, provided hands on support for the clean up of properties impacted by the fires. Week after week the Seahawks army of members coordinated by Jaimie and Heath could be found helping others in the community in any way they could. And this went on for week after week! One of the highlights during this tough time was the couple of days that the Sydney Swans spent in town to assist in the recovery as part of the AFL’s Community Camps. Jaimie and Heath planned and organised all of the properties where the Swans players went to, along with organising a community event at Hanging Rock which left a lasting impact on anyone who came across the Swans.

And just when things were getting back to some normality, and football was about to return, Batemans Bay were directly impacted by COVID. This led to the best laid plans for the junior and seniors teams being thrown into dissaray. Jaimie worked tirelessly through this period to try and get as many kids as possible onto the park. Ultimately only a couple of the Seahawks teams were able to continue on in the 2020 season, however this was through no lack of effort from Jaimie! Jaimie sent countless hours trying to get players back and ensuring a safe environment for all participants.

As the Seahawks Junior Coordinator for the past two season, Jaimie is the driving force behind the junior players and teams competing in the Shoalhaven Juniors competition. During this time the junior numbers have grown again and if it wasnt for COVID, would have filled teams in all grades, and been a real force to reckon with.

Jaimie looks for no praise or thanks for the work she does (in fact she is pretty quick to deflect it from herself and thank others), but we are grateful for all of her work to assist the Seahawks football club, and broader Batemans Bay community get through this challenging year.

Jaimie (and Heath) – we thank you for all of your efforts across 2020!