Few would argue that volunteers are the backbone of a successful community. According to the 2016 Census, Highlanders owe a debt of gratitude to close to a quarter of the region's population with 9273 people (23.5 per cent) living in the Wingecarribee identified as volunteers through a group or organisation.
There are many other people who selflessly offer their time but are not included in these statistics. Those who mow their neighbour's lawn, or cook for a sick friend for example, are all doing their bit as a volunteer.
Every person who volunteers in any way should have a sense of pride in the knowledge that they are marking a difference. Often in society we draw attention to these people who are generous of their time with public recognition in the form of awards. Some who have dedicated time and money even have streets, buildings, parks and reserves named after them. Others will be given such accolades as Queen's Birthday or Australia Day honours and will be forever identified with special letters, such as OAM or AM, at the end of their name.
The Southern Highland News often runs storiessinging the praises and drawing attention to the contributions of this region's volunteers. Our editorial team is well aware and forever impressed by the work many people do out of the goodness of their heart. We are equally aware that while some will be noticed for their great work others prefer to lay low while making generous contributions for the benefit of others.
There is a man involved in several charity groups. He's approachable and friendly and nothing ever seems too much for him. He is currently struggling with his own illness but still he commits a great deal of his time to helping others - always with a smile.
There is a woman, also involved in several charity groups. Her voluntary commitment is almost equivalent to a full time job and she makes herself available to those who need her support whenever necessary.
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These are just two of many unsung heroes in our community who offer their time, and sometimes money, to help others. They prefer to quietly work behind the scenes. All they want is to know that their efforts are making a positive difference. They may not take the front row seat as the face of special community efforts, but their contributions are no less important. For those quiet achievers, let it be known that your generosity and kindness does not go unnoticed. Thank you.