Celebrating our unsung heroes
Tuesday, 2nd December, 2014
By Darrin Manuel
After 40 years of volunteering at Lifeline, Laurel Oates says she still gets a smile at seeing people coming through the door.
It is this willingness to help and positive attitude that has seen Laurel become one Lifeline’s most valued volunteers.
Her story, and many others, will be celebrated across Australia by Lifeline on Friday to mark International Volunteer Day.
“Lifeline has some volunteers who have quite literally been with us since day one. We are so proud, and grateful for the impact they have had on hundreds of thousands of Australian lives,” said Marisa Picket, Lifeline Shop Manager.
“Volunteer administrators, warehouse staff, truck drivers and campaigners, just to name a few, as well as our wonderful Telephone Crisis Supporters, are the true heroes of Lifeline’s story.
“Volunteering at Lifeline isn’t always easy, as supporting people through a crisis can be emotionally taxing. However, it is always rewarding,” said Ms Picket.
Ms Oates’ story with Lifeline began in 1974, when she was looking for something to keep her occupied after her children had “moved on” and left home.
“I thought I’d better move on myself and find something to do,” she said.
She was recommended by church friend Alice Luke to take up a position with Lifeline, and said she hasn’t looked back since.
“It’s been absolutely wonderful and it’s helped keep me going too.
“I get up and have a shower and breakfast and the rest of it, and I can’t wait to get in here.
“I just love seeing people come through the front door ... I’ll keep on going while someone up there is looking after me.”
As a way of recognising its strong volunteers over the past 50 years, Lifeline Broken Hill is holding a Volunteers Dinner celebration at the Musicians Club this Saturday from 6.30pm.
Volunteers past and present are invited, free of charge, and partners are welcome at a cost of $30 per head.
Those wishing to attend the dinner must register their name by calling Lifeline on 8087 7525 or by visiting the Lifeline Centre in Argent Street.
Anyone wishing to volunteer their services to Lifeline would also be welcome.
“International Volunteer Day is an opportunity to recognise and thank these incredible people for their work, as well as encourage others to become volunteers,” said Ms Picket.
“We need volunteers more than ever before. I urge everyone to consider volunteering their time at Lifeline; it truly is one of the most rewarding things you could ever be involved with,” said Ms Picket.
“Just about anyone can be part of the Lifeline family, and people don’t have to be on the phones to help out. We need people to help raise funds, work in retail outlets, help out at book fairs, drive trucks, sort clothes - the list goes on.”
For information on how to volunteer, contact Lifeline Broken Hill on 8087 7525.