IT is not easy to pinpoint the exact reason why Rubyvale’s Les Hayes won Citizen of the Year at Pioneer Park, because - to put it simply - he has done so much during his 40 years as a dedicated volunteer.
Mr Hayes was overwhelmed with pride and gratitude on Wednesday, which he described as one of the best of his life and just “bloody marvellous.”
“I have done a lot as a volunteer, and as a volunteer, you never really do it for the accolades,” Mr Hayes said.
“I have always said to others that they shouldn’t do it for the praise, they should do it to help people, because that’s really what it’s all about and helping others really is the greatest feeling of all.”
Mr Hayes urged members of the community to get involved and not hold back when it came to volunteering.
He said the rewards were endless and he wanted to make it clear that “the world needs volunteers.”
“In a small community, especially at a time like this, there are often limited funds and authorities to get things done, and that’s when the volunteers count for so much,” he said. “We need volunteers to get out there and help the people that need help.”
Mr Hayes also thanked his wife Gail, who he said had helped him through the good and the bad, and without her, “none of this would have been possible.”
“If you want something done just keep at it, keep chipping away at the wall and eventually you’ll break through,” he said.
Nowhere was this more evident than for the Sapphire community swimming pool project, which Mr Hayes started on 32 years ago.
After much hard work from the many involved, the pool is finally being built.
Mr Hayes’ long list of accolades include 13 years with Gemfields Rural Fire Brigade, the last eight of which he has been president.
He has also been president of Gem Swim for the past eight years, on the committee for the Anakie and Gemfields RSL for the past five, and on the council advisory committee for the past 10.
Mr Hayes labelled January 26 as almost as sacred as Anzac Day and where Australians could thank their predecessors for the life we enjoy today.
He urged every Australian to spare a thought for the troops fighting overseas, and to also take a moment for all the parents who anxiously wait for their children’s safe return, as he and his wife Gail do theirs.
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