20 May 2024

National Volunteer Week: time to say thanks to our unsung heroes

| Zoe Cartwright
Join the conversation
SES volunteers with a boat on a trailer

SES Illawarra volunteers enjoyed a boatload of thanks at Wollongong Mall on Friday, 17 May. Photo: SES Illawarra.

National Volunteer Week starts today, but when given the chance on Friday to say thanks to NSW State Emergency Service (SES) volunteers, locals jumped at the opportunity.

Volunteers and a NSW SES vessel were stationed in Wollongong Mall and the community was encouraged to write messages of thanks on one of their boats.

Steve Gersbach volunteers with the Shellharbour City unit and was in his brightest-orange gear for the event.

He said it had a more serious purpose – but the warm messages from the community were a bonus.

READ ALSO Salvation Army’s Red Shield Appeal raises hope for new beginnings

“For me, getting out in the community is all about making sure people know there is someone they can call when they’re in trouble and getting the SES number out there,” he said.

“There are still a lot of people who don’t know we’re here in an emergency.

“Most of us don’t do it for recognition. We do it because we want to give back, but the messages of thanks are really lovely.

“It’s really heartwarming to feel so supported, loved and appreciated by the community.”

The event was a warmup for National Volunteer Week, which runs from 20 to 26 May and is Australia’s largest celebration of volunteering.

This special event highlights the important role of volunteers in the community and invites people who are not currently volunteering to do so.

Communities across the state are also encouraged to wear orange on Wednesday, 22 May, as the NSW SES celebrates Wear Orange Wednesday, otherwise known as WOW Day.

READ ALSO After 13 years, Lord Mayor says it’s time for a life outside of Wollongong Council

NSW SES South Eastern Deputy Zone Commander Sharon Fox said National Volunteer Week gives the wider community the opportunity to acknowledge those who give up their time to serve others.

“We are asking our community to wear orange on Wednesday as a mark of support for our wonderful volunteers, who work tirelessly to support their community during times of need,” Superintendent Fox said.

“We want to make sure our volunteers know their work doesn’t go unnoticed. They take time away from their families, their employers and their livelihoods to support their community during times of need.

“Next week is a time to reflect on the remarkable work our volunteers do in their own communities and across the whole of NSW.”

For more information about how to get involved, visit WOW Day.

Join the conversation

All Comments
  • All Comments
  • Website Comments

Daily Digest

Want the best Illawarra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Illawarra stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.