Volunteers are the backbone of any community.
Around Kangaroo Island there are legacies of volunteer work everywhere – some of it gives pleasure to residents and visitors alike while others are needed for the survival of the land and the people who call it home.
From the volunteer ambulance teams who are often the primary medical emergency resource to the people who take care of the canteen at netball to help raise funds to make sport more enjoyable, there is so much which is offered in the region.
There are so many volunteers who give their time to make a difference.
Last year the Kingscote Lions Club was able to donate a defibrillator to the Kangaroo Island Volunteer Coast Guard, which shows volunteers are helping other volunteers to be able to do their job with more ease and with the best available equipment.
A group of people have also taken on the a project to to rebuild a schooner, the Independence, which has been an integral part of American River’s history.
Volunteers have helped out at the Kangaroo Island Community Centre, which provides opportunities for people to access other services and programs while others lend a helping hand when it comes time to revegetate the natural landscape to help the Island’s black cockatoo recovery.
Then there are the wonderful people who continue to raise funds for the Royal Flying Doctor Service and the volunteers who conduct surveys for Dolphin Watch, which provides information to allow for conservation and protection of the species.
This year’s citizen of the year, Rodney Bell, is just one of many volunteers who has contributed to the community for many years.
Mr Bell said he was proud to carry on a family tradition of community spirit which was shared through many generations.
“I live in a fantastic community and you’ve got to put something back into it,” he said.
“In cities, neighbour doesn’t know neighbour. Here, if anyone needs help – you’re there, and it happens.”
State Minister for Volunteers, Zoe Bettison said research has confirmed that volunteers not only make other people happy, but they are happier as well.
“National Volunteer Week acknowledges the important role volunteers play in our community and is an opportunity for us all to say thank you,” Ms Bettison said.
“Volunteers are a formidable workforce, powering many essential community, environmental, sporting and cultural activities and services.”
It is estimated more than 900,000 people donate their time through volunteering in South Australia which adds up to about 1.7 million hours each week, which equates to about $5 billion of service each year.