Editorial: A time for all those people who give back

Every year, news of the Queen’s Birthday Honours List recipients spreads like wildfire. 

The stories are always inspiring and the recipients are often surprised.

These members of our community, selflessly giving back, are living, breathing examples of how every one of us can make a change for the better, in our own way.

One of those honoured in the Southern Tablelands this year was the late general practitioner Dr Keith Beck (pictured with his bride Shirlee, left), awarded a posthumous Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM).

Before he passed away in 2017, the rural GP and locum served thousands of patients across the region. Living in Crookwell for 15 years, he retired at age 85, but continued to volunteer all the way up to his passing.

“He really had a passion to look after the ageing population, trying to make nursing homes feel like their own homes. He was truly a man before his time,” his daughter Denise said.

“If I could be half the person he was, it would be wonderful.”

For many, the Queen’s Birthday list is one of the highest honours. 

Congratulations are in order for everyone who was acknowledged this year. We are sure their fmailies and friends are proud beyond measure. 

But another set of congratulations need to be announced, for all those who sacrifice their time for the community, but are not, or never will be, publicly acknowledged.

There are too many of such people; far too many to officially acknowledge every year. 

The person who always has time for a yarn with you when they know you’re down.

The person who freely gives of their time in community centres.

The person who always puts their hand up to cater at community events.

The gatekeepers who show up for social gatherings.

The councillors who dutifully listen to complaints and concerns. 

The listener, the joker, the painter, the teacher, who give back more than they need to and expect nothing more than a smile.

They do not need a letter or a badge, nor do they need to be on a list. 

There are people who see these volunteers, as clear as a summer’s day, and are eternally grateful. People who admire the humility and learn from their simple actions.

If this is you, know that your community is here, and is grateful for the work you do.