Volunteers honoured for their hard work

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Today is International Volunteer Day, and local community groups are taking the opportunity to thank the hard-working people who donate their time to keep our town ticking.

St John North Otago territory manager Ken Barton said there simply would not be ambulance services in rural communities without volunteers.

Oamaru had two ambulances, one of which had a volunteer on at night, the second of which was staffed by volunteers at all times.

“The men and woman we’ve got working are doing such an amazing job for their community.”

He felt “absolutely privileged” such amazing people gave up their time to volunteer, he said.

Volunteering for St John was a continuous effort which asked volunteers for 12 hours of time weekly on call, but saw volunteers put in much more than that, on top of continuous training to perform their duties, he said.

One volunteer in Kurow was putting in more than 200 hours a month, Mr Barton said.

He said he was “truly grateful” for everything the volunteers did.

In Oamaru, one of those volunteers is Brent Barber.

He has been volunteering for St John for almost seven years.

He liked doing things for people and his volunteering with St John allowed him to do that, he said.

“It’s not always pretty . . . someone’s gotta do it.”

St John in Oamaru is still looking for people to volunteer their time.

Plunket was another group thanking the volunteers who keep them going.

Plunket New Zealand president Tristine Clark said volunteers were key for the organisation.

“Plunket is in the enviable position of having thousands of hard working, selfless people who give of their time, knowledge, skills and energy.

“Many of the services Plunket offers – such as parenting education, car seat rental schemes, toy libraries, parent support groups, playgroups, child safety programmes and helping raise funds to assist with the running of the family centres – simply wouldn’t be possible without the time, talent, and effort of our volunteers,” Mrs Clark said.

Arthritis New Zealand chief executive Sandra Kirby said volunteers were an essential part of their organisation.

“Volunteers help us in raising awareness of the more than 140 different forms of arthritis, advocating for those with the condition, and providing advice and support.

“Volunteer support means we are able to achieve much, much more than we could with our limited resources.”

By DAVID DE LOREAN

PHOTO: DAVID DE LOREAN

DEDICATED: Brent Barber and Carol Harding have been volunteering their time to St John for several years each.