East Maitland’s Carmel “Fudge” Kaczmar has been announced as a finalist for an inter-state volunteering award.
Ms Kaczmar, who founded Miracle Assistance Dogs, is a finalist in the 1st Choice Rentals Volunteering Award, part of the 2017 NSW/ACT Regional Achievement and Community Awards.
Miracle Assistance Dogs is a not-for-profit organisation that trains puppies to assist people living with disabilities.
It is the second time in two years Ms Kaczmar has been nominated for the award.
“It just blows me away,” she said. “I wasn’t expecting it last year and I wasn’t expecting it this year either.
“To know somebody recognises the work you are doing and understands the struggles you go through and goes that extra mile to nominate you, it’s an amazing feeling.”
Ms Kaczmar, assisted by 20 other volunteers, is the main driver in fundraising, seeking sponsorship and the donations required to pay the $30,000 per dog for the qualified Assistance Dog training costs.
The dogs assist with diabetic alert, seizure response, hearing and mobility support. Ms Kaczmar also coordinates a weekly Dog Training School for students with disabilities.
The finalists will be presented and winners announced at a gala dinner to be held at Marina Views Function Centre on November 10.