Valuable helpers thanked

June 02, 2018

Benalla Heath held a ceremony last Thursday to honour the hard-working volunteers who selflessly give their time to help those in our community who need it most.

More than 10 volunteers, who work in a number of roles at the hospital, received certificates and even more were unable to attend.

There was also a special presentations to honour those volunteers who have been involved for more than a decade.

Benalla Health chief executive officer Janine Holland opened the ceremony by discussing National Volunteer Week and its theme, ‘‘give a little-change a lot’’.

‘‘The awards today are to recognise volunteers who have given 10, 15, 20 and 27 years of service to the hospital and the community,’’ Ms Holland said.

‘‘It’s an amazing contribution because they are volunteers, so their commitment to their local hospital and their community is outstanding.’’

The first long-term volunteer, Patrick Richards, has been helping at Benalla Hospital for 10 years.

John Long was recognised for putting in an amazing 15 years, and believe it or not there were two more volunteers who have been part of Benalla Hospital for more than two decades.

Julia O’Brien first volunteered in 1998 and Dorothy Meagher has been a volunteer for an amazing 27 years.

All four received a pen as recognition, however, the smiles in the room implied that being recognised was reward enough.

Benalla Health Board chair Louise Armstrong said board members rarely got the opportunity to meet volunteers and being able to recognise them was ‘‘terrific’’.

‘‘This country, this town and in particular this hospital wouldn’t work very well without the huge amount of volunteer time that goes into many different areas,’’ Ms Armstrong said.

Julia O’Brien who was recognised for 20 years of voluntary work in palliative care described Benalla Health as ‘‘fantastic’’ and said she enjoyed her work there.

‘‘Working with people who are having a real crisis in health for some reason and their families is just really rewarding,’’ Ms O’Brien said.

‘‘A few years ago I’d heard about palliative care and what they do, and wanted to help.

‘‘It is basically working with families who have somebody who is very very ill, usually from cancer, and you provide support for them.

‘‘It’s totally confidential and sometimes people will talk to a stranger and tell them things that they can’t share with their family at the time because they don’t want to worry them.

‘‘So you are that person and you help in whatever way you can at the time.

‘‘I didn’t realise I’d done 20 years. If I’d thought about it I would have known, but it’s lovely, they’re a great group of people and I always like to come in.’’

There are many areas within Benalla Health where a person can volunteer and Julia recommends that people give it a go.

‘‘There’s lots of things you can volunteer for. It doesn’t have to be Palliative care, we’ve got lots of people here today who are volunteering for all types of things,’’ she said.

‘‘My husband does some community health driving taking patients to Melbourne, Shepparton, Albury or Wangaratta.

‘‘He does that and really enjoys it and enjoys meeting the people he drives.’’

Benalla Health is always on the lookout for new volunteers and if you think you are in a position to help they want to hear from you.

●For more information and to apply, visit

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