ABC Radio Great Southern Drive presenter Andrew Collins interviewed Bushfire Volunteers President Dave Gossage about National Volunteering Week today and we think it’s a really compelling interview for a couple of important reasons.

Have a listen to just how comfortable and confident our hard-working President Dave Gossage is in the first half of the interview when journalist Andrew Collins asks him to talk about the value of volunteering for others.

Then, with the benefit of having a moment to consider just how much of a personal struggle it might be to stand up for others after being “shot” as the messenger time after time, hear Dave struggle a little when asked to talk about his experiences of volunteering.

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While it would no doubt deliver a short term boost to the numbers of new volunteers recruited to paint a rosy picture of how becoming a volunteer gives everyone nothing but fun and excitement, it simply isn’t true. We know that volunteering – especially in essential services – provides opportunities for individuals to grow and feel great about what they are doing for the community. But one of the hallmarks of our proud representation of WA’s 20,000+ registered Bush Fire Volunteer is that we are also not afraid to confront the reality of issues in order to improve things, even if it means taking the shine off a conveniently pretty picture.

On the surface, this interview can be read as a nice promotion for the very important work of our incredible essential service volunteers. But for those with the capacity to think and especially for those who know the amazingly committed and selfless man behind the name Dave Gossage, the second half is very raw and perhaps even a little uncomfortable in the way it provides a glimpse into just how personally challenging it can be to advocate for the voiceless against a para-military, command and control culture.

Happy National Volunteer Week to every Australian who gives their time, skills, knowledge and especially, their heart, to helping others and thank you Dave for everything you do to stand up for our amazing members, despite being personally knocked down so many times for doing it.

Let’s hope the other side of COVID-19 brings a new way of thinking to many.

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