Coastguard’s volunteers and the tireless work they do in New Zealand communities was recognised and celebrated this National Volunteer Week.
From June 17-24, the theme of National Volunteer Week 2018 was “Volunteers, The Heart of our Community” which captures the essence of what volunteering is all about and how the efforts, compassion and time provided by volunteers is a significant contribution that enriches communities.
Each year, 2,052 Coastguard volunteers collectively spend nearly 310,000 hours helping communities at sea around New Zealand.
Of Coastguard’s inspiring volunteers, one family sits at the heart of their community. Sunny and Jodi Peeters, as well as their three sons Aaron, Ethan and Levi are all volunteers at Coastguard Tauranga and use their family bond to make a difference.
“It’s something we really enjoy and look forward to doing,” says Ethan. “It’s a great way for us to help our community, get out and about together and learn some great skills.”
Not only do Aaron, Ethan and Levi all volunteer for Coastguard Tauranga, they dedicate their time and share their skills with other emergency services as well.
Aaron volunteers with the local Civil Defence Response team, Ethan is in the process of becoming a volunteer with St John, while Levi volunteers with the fire service.
“What’s great about volunteering is that you really become a part of the community,” says Aaron. “To look out to the water and know you’re supporting all of those boaties out there, you’re a part of it rather than just along for the ride.”
Proud parents Sunny and Jodi agree. “It’s just a great way for us to give back. I’ve gotten so much out of this community – I grew up in Tauranga, and I was given a lot of opportunities here,” says Sunny.
“Our family culture is one where we love to share everyday experiences, and Coastguard is a really good avenue where we get to exercise this.
“It’s not just doing something, it’s doing something that helps people who are often in precarious situations.”
Thanks to the Peeters family’s skills and unwavering commitment, whenever Coastguard Tauranga need a crew urgently or are short on team members, they simply call the Peeters family and have an almost fully-formed team ready to go.
“A part from the skipper, we’re a readymade crew – all you need to do is add water!” The work Coastguard volunteers like the Peeters family deliver is essential to keeping our communities strong and healthy.
“For us, National Volunteer Week is an opportunity to pause, reflect and recognise the outstanding efforts of Coastguard volunteers who risk their lives to ensure the safety of Kiwis on the water each year,” says Coastguard CEO Patrick Holmes.
“It’s a chance for us to thank the women and men of Coastguard,” he adds. “Their unwavering commitment and dedication to each other and their communities is humbling.
“In a world where good people seem to be increasingly hard to find, they stand out as being some of the very best.” Holmes is quick to point out that this level of commitment is only possible due to supportive partners, families, friends and employers.
“National Volunteer Week is also an opportunity for Coastguard to acknowledge the role these important people also play in saving lives at sea and making Coastguard such a special organisation.”
To find more about Coastguard including how to become a Coastguard volunteer, visit www.coastguard.nz