Paramedic Mark Tompsett is among the one in four Western Australians who generously donate their time and effort to formal volunteering.
While volunteers will be celebrated throughout National Volunteering Week from May 16-22, for Mark volunteering is a reward in itself.
For the past 10 years Mark has donated his medical skills to fundraising motoring events run by Variety, which raises money for WA children who are sick, disadvantaged or living with disability.
Most recently he took part in the Variety Creative Car Cruise, a fun-filled four-day trip through the south-west.
Participants left York to drive to Katanning, Albany and Manjimup in their classic, sports, muscle and American cars or modified vehicles, raising $250,000 in the process.
As a volunteer paramedic on the road, Tony deals with everything from falls to stomach upsets, cuts, allergies, broken bones, cardiac conditions and respiratory issues.
The theme for this year's Volunteer Week is We are better together - a sentiment Mark can relate to.
"We have a great volunteer support team which looks after the motoring events," he said.
"We have all grown quite close. We have strong friendships within the group.
"When you look at the people that take part in the events, when it comes to mindfulness, gratitude and empathy, they wrap it all up in droves."
Participants were required to raise $4000 for Variety before they took part in the cruise.
"A lot of the volunteers fundraise for the entire year to go on the event," Mark said.
"Fundraising is hard work, especially these days, so if as part of the support group I can support them in their efforts, that's a huge plus."
During the cruise two grants were given to primary schools in the region.
"It is wonderful to meet the kids and hear families share their stories about how they have been helped by a Variety grant," Mark said.
"It might be a certain type of swing, therapy pool, a step-through bath or a wheelchair designed around a child's needs.
"When you stand back and see the huge difference it makes in their lives, that is a pretty big motivator."
Variety WA chief executive Tony Hume said it was important for cruise participants to see the impact of their fundraising efforts.
The WA Volunteer of the Year Awards will be announced on May 19.
Snapshot of volunteering
- Each year 523,000 (25 per cent) of Western Australians volunteer through community organisations.
- Consistent with national trends, there has been a loss of more than 150,000 volunteers in WA - a 22 per cent reduction over the past six years.
- Australia-wide the 70-plus age bracket has the highest formal volunteering participation rates at 29 per cent, followed by 40- to -54-year-olds (28 per cent), 55-69 years (23 per cent), 15-24 years (20 per cent) and 25-39 years (17 per cent).
- Sport and recreation groups are the biggest benefactors, with more than 30 per cent of Australians volunteering their time.
- Volunteers reporting increased feelings of self-worth, connectedness and overall better mental health.
For more information about Volunteering in WA, call 08-9482-4333 or click here.
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