OPINION: Vollies are our true local heroes
VOLUNTEERS - plain and simple, they are the backbone of our community.
Without them, much of what we take for granted would even be lost.
They give their time to put on community events, provide services we couldn't do without, and even contribute to keeping us safe.
Whether it's the volunteers at Driver Reviver stops on our major highways, animal lovers giving their time to our fur-babies at the RSPCA, or firies in our rural country brigades, they all have on thing in common - they expect nothing in return.
But if anything, it's important they get at least one thing - and that's some recognition.
That happened today, when more than 450 volunteers were thanked for their efforts at a special breakfast held by council.
It was due recognition for those who put in the time and never complain.
It was put to me recently that there are many people who want change in our community, but are never willing to put their hand up and get involved.
Our volunteers work tirelessly, and importantly selflessly, because it is an opportunity to better their community.
They come from all walks of life, and include men and women, and even children, from all backgrounds.
I've been to many events run by volunteers who are simply out there to put a smile on somebody else's face.
I've seen many organisations run by volunteers who are keen to provide a better life for someone other than themselves.
I've been to many charities run by volunteers who want to make sure everyone has equal opportunity in their life, no matter how high the mountains are that they face.
The point is, it is our volunteers who are the ones who put in the time and effort day in, day out to keep Gladstone moving forward, no matter how small or how big the task.
We have to ensure that with every opportunity we get, we appreciate and thank our volunteers for their service to the community.
To our volunteers, we have one simple simple thing to say: Thank you.