National Volunteer Week runs from 19-26 June 2016
The RSA movement relies on its volunteers – and is taking the opportunity to acknowledge the significant, year-round contribution they make to our community for National Volunteer Week.
RSA National President BJ Clark says he’s proud that RSA is a truly grassroots and volunteer-led organisation.
“Tens of thousands of Kiwis nationwide give their time every year, doing everything from weeding local war memorials and RSA clubrooms, to collecting for New Zealand’s largest street appeal on Poppy Day.
“Our volunteers also conduct hospital visits, deliver food to housebound ex-service personnel and their dependents, help recent recently-returned veterans and their families, as well as all sorts of other activities,” Clark says.
In addition to this, all of the governance of the local RSA network comes from members of the community, from local RSAs to district level.
“Everyone is busy – so we really appreciate our volunteers for making the time to make such a difference for others. They’re directly helping those who have put themselves in harm’s way – and who have spent the prime of their lives in service to our country,” Clark says.
Volunteer-led veteran support network: looking after our own.
As with the rest of the organisation, RSA’s New Zealand-wide support network is volunteer-based. Acting Support Service Manager Ray Terrill says the RSA, like the Fire Service, runs on its volunteers – and could not exist without them.
“Since the RSA started 100 years ago, we’ve worked in and with the community to look after our own. We have about 31,000 veterans, and tens of thousands more who have served honourably within New Zealand. It’s incredibly heartening that so many people choose to make time to support those who have given so much.”
They do a great job of juggling RSA work with jobs and careers, family and other personal commitments, he said.
“In the 30 years I’ve been involved for with the RSA, I’ve seen volunteers cut firewood, paint houses, entertain the families of those currently serving overseas, transport folk to doctors and specialist appointments. All of this in their own time and at their own cost – and sometimes affecting the health and wellbeing of those volunteers.”
“Hundreds of volunteers are involved in supporting our current and former service personnel and their families. The range of activities they are involved in range broadly – whether pulling together a team to help put a new roof on the house for the widow of a Korean War veteran, or going to check in on someone who may be having a hard time of it.”
National Volunteer Week 2016 runs from 19 to 25 June.