May 13 to 19 is National Volunteer Week when the community says thanks for the contribution of the 6 million-plus Australians who dedicate their time to others. There are any number of reasons to become a volunteer. Long serving member of the Mudgee Volunteer Rescue Squad, Errol Grieve, said “My belief is everyone owes something to their community”.
“This community runs on volunteers,” he said. “You’ve got the emergency services – the Rescue Squad, SES, RFS – and the Services Clubs – the Lions Club, the Rotary Clubs and CWA branches – all run by volunteers.”
Mudgee Volunteer Rescue Squad President, Geoff Hawes, said: “You can volunteer for all sorts of different things in the community and it all makes a difference”.
“When you talk to volunteers most will tell you that they get more out of it than you put into it,’ he said. Mr Grieve and Mr Hawes said that once people get a taste for volunteering with one group or club they often branch out into others, leading to what they call “serial volunteers”. However they said that they are worried that the majority of local voluntary organisations are manned by older people and that there aren’t as many younger volunteers. “Volunteering is an important part of the community but there probably needs to be more younger volunteers,” Mr Hawes said. “If you don’t fill the shoes of older volunteers what happens to these groups?” Mr Grieve said that the Squad was established to provide emergency assistance and specialist equipment during accidents and has since branched out into areas such as driver education. `There was a need for it so a group of interested people formed the Rescue Squad and over the years it’s performed a valuable service to the town,” he said. Mr Hawes added, “I imagine that the Squad has saved thousands of lives over the years”.
Article Mudgee Guardian – May 13 2013
By Sam Potts