VOLUNTEER RECOGNITION: Rotarians Frank Jongkind and Jack Wright collect donations at the Charleville Show.
VOLUNTEER RECOGNITION: Rotarians Frank Jongkind and Jack Wright collect donations at the Charleville Show. Lucy Rutherford

Recognising our unsung heroes for volunteer week

IT'S people like Frank Jongkind, Jack Wright and Karl Aschhoff who are the lifeblood of our community.

The volunteers were slugging 12 hour shifts at the Charleville Show at the weekend to raise money for the Rotary Club's community service fund, which will go towards their upcoming projects.

Standing at the entry of the showgrounds, the Rotarians arrived bright and early to collect generous donations from showgoers until dark.

This week is National Volunteer Week, an opportunity to highlights the invaluable contribution of volunteers in our local community.

Karl Aschhoff was the founding member of Charleville's Rotary Club in 1982, while president Jack has been involved for the past five years and past president Frank has been giving back and collecting funds for more than two decades.

"We get a lot out of it too,” Mr Jongkind said.

"I've meet a lot of people in the time I've been a member and made lifelong friends.”

Charleville's Rotary Club gives its members the opportunity to 'pay it forward' and to have a positive impact by providing funds to groups that significantly benefit the community.

"We just like helping people and letting them know there's always someone looking out for them,” Mr Jongkind said.

With Volunteer Week in its 30th year, thousands of events will be held across the country to say "thank you” to the six million Australians who volunteer their time.

The week-long celebration includes breakfasts, morning and afternoon teas and luncheons, as well as open days, award ceremonies, picnics, forums and training sessions.

This year's theme, Making a world of difference, shows recognition for the volunteers and the hours of time they regularly put in to serve their community and the issues faced.

"We're heavily involved in drought relief and organisations that focus on mental health and depression,” Mr Wright said. "Depression in rural towns is a serious issue and there's not as much accessibility to services in the bush, so we like to contribute to these organisations whenever we can.” By organising events and fundraisers, as well as collecting donations, the Rotary Club of Charleville provides relief to those hit by tough circumstances, who need a little extra help.

The funds they raise are converted into vouchers which can then be spent at local businesses.

"We get local businesses on board so the money stays circulating in the community,” Mr Jongkind said. "It's the best of both worlds.

"We help those who need to get back on their feet, as well as boosting the local economy.”

While Frank, Jack and Karl had no complaints about working around the clock to raise money for the Rotary Club's community service fund, they could always use more help.

"We're a little light on the ground at the moment,” said Mr Wright.

"The club is always looking for new members.”


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