Volunteerism can be described as one of the most basic of human behaviours. It is founded on the principle of donating time and energy for the benefit of others in a community. Most important, it is a social responsibility and is carried out to fulfill that purpose rather than for any financial reward.
Volunteerism describes how individuals use their energy, their talents, their knowledge and their resources for mutual benefit. The coming together of these forces has the potential to enhance the well-being of individuals and of their communities. In fact, many communities would be hard-pressed to function without volunteers.
In the province of Nova Scotia, volunteers are the key threads that make up the social and economic fiber of the Province. There are several opportunities for the Province to raise the profile of volunteers. These include the Provincial Volunteer Awards, presented at a ceremony in Halifax on April 4, 2016. On that date, Premier Stephen McNeil acknowledged 65 families, youth and community groups by presenting them with their awards. This is an annual event and Nova Scotians are invited to recognize outstanding volunteers by nominating them for a Provincial Volunteer Award. “You exemplify the very best of what the human spirit has to offer” said Premier McNeil.
One of the greatest examples of volunteerism is that of a firefighter. Their time, talent, skill and knowledge often go unrecognized and frequently unnoticed. Firefighters spend hundreds of hours of training, so they can respond to the many and varied emergency calls they receive. They risk their lives as they bravely face the unknown. They leave families behind as they hasten to the emergency scene, and they are ever ready to protect the community of which they are so proud. As United Nations Secretary General Ban-ki-moon stated in December 2, 2012, “by giving of their time and skills without the expectation of material reward, volunteers themselves are uplifted by a singular sense of purpose”.
At the recent annual banquet held in Londonderry for the Great Village and District Fire Brigade, members came together to receive recognition and well-deserved thanks. As the MLA for Colchester North, I was proud to acknowledge the contributions made by members of the Commission, the Auxiliary, the Fundraising Committee and the community for their volunteerism. Most important, I want to thank the firefighters for their commitment to making our communities safe.
Karen Casey, MLA