CELEBRATING CLUB VOLUNTEERS
Tony Pellegrino volunteers for the love of the game and not to get the recognition he deserves for putting countless hours in behind the scenes.
Pellegrino, 48, has offered a helping hand for more than five years at junior football, whether it be coaching, at committee level or helping his wife, Rose, run the social club at Shepparton Notre Football Club.
Pellegrino also spends countless hours as the under-14 interleague coach and if you head to a Shepparton Goulburn Valley League game, you will see him marshalling the troops as an assistant coach for the under-18s.
‘‘I spend about six days a week volunteering after work and on weekends, helping kids at football and I absolutely loving seeing the smiles on their faces,’’ Pellegrino said.
‘‘I had quite a good junior football upbringing, so I feel it is just good to give back the sport that gave so much fun to me as a youngster.’’
Pellegrino has followed his two boys, Andrew and Matt, during their junior careers, giving away his then full-time profession as a horse trainer to help watch his kids grow up and play the sport they love.
‘‘I am a bit of a third wheel, I helped out at St Brendan’s, at Notre and wherever they go after that, they are only young for a certain amount of time, so I like to be involved,’’ Pellegrino said.
‘‘As a trotting trainer it took up a lot of my time and the boys were getting to an age where they were playing sports on the weekend, so I gave it away and had a little bit of a career change.’’
The Pellegrino family was recognised at a volunteers breakfast on Friday morning in Shepparton, but for Tony, he would rather go unnoticed.
‘‘It’s great to have these kinds of breakfasts, but I was sort of overwhelmed when I got the email,’’ Pellegrino said.
‘‘We don’t do it for the recognition, we do it for the love and passion, but in the end, I suppose it was nice not to go unnoticed for what we have done.’’
Pellegrino would spend at least eight hours a week giving back to football, while Rose has her work cut out as well.
‘‘Rose runs the trivia nights, presentation nights and what not,’’ Pellegrino said.
‘‘With about 300 people involved, she has to get all that side of things sorted and I think it is fair to say it is wall-to-wall footy in our household.
‘‘Our involvement won’t stop as well, we get so much back out of it, we have met so many good people and built long-lasting friendships.’’