Our Say: Volunteers the glue that binds community

The 20 residents whose names have been imprinted into our community’s memory deserve the recognition.

They are all volunteers making huge, selfless contributions to their peers and making society just that much better for the rest of us.

They are, of course, the group of people recognised with Dubbo Day Awards last Thursday. The day is the anniversary of Dubbo’s gazettal as a village in 1849.

Now a growing, busy city we often forget how tough life and conditions would have been back in the early days.

The people living here then would have faced challenges we can no longer comprehend. One thing is sure, they could not have survived and thrived without the support of their neighbours.

And that still holds true today. The city’s volunteers are a glue that binds our community and keeps it functioning.

Ms Nicole Johnstone received the Tony McGrane Award for going “above and beyond” through her work as a podiatrist.

Her nomination was for visiting the elderly and the housebound, who were unable to get to her clinic. She “helped them free of charge simply to improve the lives of people struggling with pain and discomfort”.

She said she was “extremely embarrassed” to have received the award and didn’t feel worthy.

Retired for eight years, she still makes those home visits – and has been a volunteer with four community groups.

“Anyone who needs your help, you’re hardly going to turn your back,” she says.

Others who don’t “turn their back” are award winners: Jason Dearmer, Tom Gray, Fiona Prentice, Helen Kinsey, Frances Ellis, Fran Doughty, John Allen, Garry and Yvonne Gowans, Matt Hansen, Margaret Kelly, Rod Crowfoot, Rodney Nott, Lee Judd, Peter Judd, Pobyn Payne, Marie Tucker, and Larry and Helen Yeo.

Awards Committee chair Bill Greenwood says volunteers are the quiet achievers who go about their day without any expectations of praise or recognition.

“We all contribute to the city in which we live, but it is our volunteers who are the threads in our society’s fabric that fill the voids of services often not available from other agencies,” he says.

Absolutely right. Our salutes to the winners and all other volunteers, who give so generously to the community.

How could we ever repay you?