More than 250 volunteers from around Collie were recognised for their commitment to bettering the community at the Shire of Collie’s Thank a Volunteer Day.
Volunteers from a range of organisations around town were awarded with certificates and an afternoon tea in Central Park to acknowledge the positive impacts their work has on the community.
One of the volunteers awarded was Julie Beckhaus, who, along with her husband Ken, has been volunteering at the RDA for the last two years.
Ms Beckhaus and her husband moved to Collie in February 2015 and she said that volunteering at the RDA helped her integrate into the town.
“[Volunteering at the RDA] makes me feel worthwhile,” she said.
“It has given me a social network which I wouldn’t have had because when when you first come to Collie, in my age group especially, groups are hard to break in to.
“Volunteering has given me friends, it’s given me abilities, it’s improved my mental well-being and my fitness. Otherwise I would be sitting around watching TV and stuck inside, pretty bored.”
Ms Beckhaus said she works in many roles around the RDA, ranging from the receptionist to cleaning up after the horses, and even though she took the role as a requirement from the government, she wouldn’t give it up for anything.
“The government insisted that I find 15 hours of work and I had no experience with horses but I love people,” she said.
“I got in touch with South West Volunteers. They put me in touch with the RDA and I haven’t looked back.
“Even if I was to win the lottery tomorrow and I stayed in Collie, I would still do my 15 hours at the RDA because I love it that much.”
At the RDA, Ms Beckhaus gets to volunteer alongside her husband Ken, who always wanted to work with horses.
“Before my husband retired, he said to me ‘When I retire, I’d like to work with horses’,” Ms Beckhaus said.
“When I applied for the job, I got a call within an hour and within two hours I was down at the RDA.
“I told the lady interviewing me that my husband was also interested in working with horses, so they grabbed a two for one because they got me and my husband in the one day.”
Ms Beckhaus said that volunteering has changed her life and that she would encourage everyone to try it out.
“Everyone should give it a go and find a position that suits them if they’re at a loose end, they’re bored or they’re not feeling fulfilled,” she said.
“You couldn’t find anything more rewarding to do with your time.”