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National Volunteer Week

Afternoon All

Today we join thousands of volunteer organisations around the nation to mark the 25th National Volunteer Week, 12 – 18 May.

The theme is “Celebrate the Power of Volunteering”.

In NSW we saw the power of volunteers clearly demonstrated during the recent bush fire season – the busiest in more than a decade. NSW RFS volunteers responded to 14,956 incidents from August 2013 to March 2014, including more than 6,600 bush, grass and scrub fires.

This week we say thank you to all our volunteers for your extraordinary efforts to protect your communities, not only during a challenging 13/14 fire season but all year round. Whether you participate in firefighting, community engagement, training, logistics, brigade support or communications, you are a valuable and integral part of our service.

On St Florian’s Day recently I had the privilege of honouring twenty individuals and three teams for their achievements– many of them volunteers like Senior Deputy Captain James Burge who received the Commissioner’s Commendation for Bravery, and the Lower Hunter Group 8 Community Engagement Team who were presented with a Commendation for their award winning and nationally recognised model of engaging with local communities.

NSW RFS volunteers come from all walks of life. Our more than 70,000-strong volunteer workforce is made up of men and women of all ages, occupations and backgrounds. As part of National Volunteer Week, we are celebrating this diversity by featuring volunteers on Facebook, and through our Ausgrid photo competition “NSW RFS volunteers – part of our community”. We will also announce the winner of the NSW RFS Cadet of the Year Award on Wednesday at a special ceremony with the Minister for Emergency Services, The Hon. Stuart Ayres MP, at Parliament House.

Once again I invite all of you to celebrate the power of volunteering this week. For more information about what’s happening around the country please visit Volunteering Australia’s website www.volunteeringaustralia.org

Regards

Shane