WHEN Denise Seward signed up to help at the 2015 Cricket World Cup, she never imagined that she would one day be fighting fires or crossing the country to help in disaster affected communities.
Fast-forward three years and the Department of Human Services staff member, who has been helping Centrelink and Medicare customers for more than four decades, is now a level one volunteer fire fighter with the Tasmania Fire Service, as well as a volunteer emergency services worker with the Australian Red Cross.
“In 2017, I was deployed to North Queensland to provide support in the aftermath of Tropical Cyclone Debbie,” Ms Seward said.
“I worked out of the recovery centres and through outreach programs in Airlie Beach, Proserpine and Bowen, visiting many affected families.
“I spent time talking to people to ensure they were safe and had support from family, friends or other external organisations.
“Sometimes I just extended a smile, a helping hand or a comforting hug.
“It was one of the most rewarding volunteer experiences and I feel so privileged to have been involved.”
Ms Seward knows how giving a little bit of your time can make a huge impact in the lives of others and wants to share her passion.
“This National Volunteer Week, I wanted to encourage people, especially young people and women, to volunteer in a field that interests them and benefits the community,” she said.
“Anyone can be a volunteer and do all kinds of things like helping with reading at schools or visiting seniors in nursing homes.
“I love volunteering because it gives me an opportunity to make a difference and give back to the community, and I’ve made lifelong friendships.
“It’s like a family and everyone looks after each other.
“When we do training, I can’t always jump over the obstacle courses, but people help me across.
“It’s about working as a team, just as we do in the field – and you never know where that might take you.”
Caption: Volunteer fire fighter Denise Seward.