THEY are your neighbour, your colleague or the person who coaches your child’s football team. They might care for your elderly relative, or help to put out a fire near your home.
Volunteers are everywhere every day performing selfless tasks for the benefit of others and are too seldom recognised for their efforts.
But this month, for the second year, Volunteering WA is holding its Volunteer of the Year Awards to recognise these outstanding contributions. Three ordinary people from Cockburn and Fremantle are amongst 76 finalists.
Atwell’s Keith Drayton, nominated for the Lifetime Contribution to Volunteering Award, has volunteered with Cockburn SES for 32 years and is a member of South Coogee’s Volunteer Bushfire Brigade.
“As a member of the SES you join because you want to help people, not because you want to be thanked or put on a pedestal, so I was taken aback at my nomination,” he said.
“The thought that people out there need help – that’s what we do it for.”
John Glisenti, also from Atwell, travels about 300 kilometres a week delivering Meals on Wheels to about 40 grateful clients.
He has been a volunteer for about 17 years, has supported dementia patients and worked at Alma Street Psychiatric Clinic in Fremantle.
“I have a bit of a disability myself and people have helped me through my bad times, so I felt it was about time to return the favour,” he said.
White Gum Valley resident Kathy Anketell began serving when she was eight and has been involved in environmental and social justice campaigns, most recently raising money for the Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo Cause.
The winners will be announced during National Volunteer Week on May 16.