For Rob and Margaret Wilbow volunteering has become a way of life.
After moving to Port Stephens from Sydney five years ago, the retired Salamander Bay couple chose to become involved in volunteering as a way of socialising, keeping busy and giving back.
The pair are among thousands who are being thanked for their generosity as part of Volunteering Australia’s National Volunteers Week.
Across the country, organisations are saying thank you to the some six million Australians who volunteer their time each year.
The couple run the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service’s Port Stephens Volunteer Support Group, who organise a range of fundraisers. Most notably, the Angel Billy Golf Classic, held annually for the past 20 years. The event has raised over $630,000 since it began.
IN NEWS TODAY
“We run the Port Stephens fundraising effort,” Mr Wilbow, 68, said.
“We’ve got 80 tins in businesses right throughout Raymond Terrace and up as far as Karuah.”
Mrs Wilbow, 64, is also a volunteer palliative care driver and a part of Port Stephens Friendship Group.
“We enjoy it and l like improving things,” Mr Wilbow said of why he volunteers.
Richard Jones, WRHS chief executive, said volunteers are essential to the sustainability of the emergency service.
“At the heart of every organisation are people,” he said. “For the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service, it is the people we serve, those who work with us and those who support us.
“Since our early beginnings, volunteers have been integral to our operations and in 2018, they remain an important part of who we are and what we do.”
Newcastle City Council paid tribute to the city’s 350 volunteers on Thursday.
"Whether it's a few hours a week helping an older citizen learn how to use email, or an entire day each week guiding visitors at the museum and gallery, it all adds up to a better community,” lord mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.
"Volunteers have worked more than 24,000 hours just at Blackbutt Reserve and Landcare sites alone during the past 12 months.
“At $30 an hour, those two projects amount to around three quarters of a million dollars in labour being donated.”
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.