National Volunteer Week: Camaraderie the key for local legend Pam Bennett

Rarely has National Volunteer Week been as important as it is in 2020.

The efforts of those working for no profit to achieve a goal within the community are of vital importance in the current coronavirus pandemic, so we at the Mandurah Mail thought it prudent to highlight the good work of our local vollies.

Today we had the pleasure of chatting to Pam Bennett about her many volunteer roles throughout the Peel region.

Pam Bennett's timeline as a local volunteer stretches back some 40 years.

Well and truly a local legend, Pam has been a key cog in several local organisations over the past decade or so, but she was volunteering her time long before that.

The Peel region resident's community work first started during her time as a teacher, when she would hold after-school classes to help out children that needed some extra tutoring.

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Those early days went on to spark what eventually became a lifelong passion for Pam, who now boasts one of the more extensive volunteering resumes you're likely to come across.

"Those classes were really fun for the kids, which made it fun for me and I suppose helped me realise how great it can be to help out like that," she said.

"That sort of got the ball rolling and I've been volunteering in different organisations ever since."

Pam has been an integral part of several local charity events and organisations over recent years.

Her involvement in the Mandurah Motorcycle Charity Ride spans across more than 12 years, she has pitched in at K9 Dog Rescue and more recently has given her time to be part of local MP Zak Kirkup's COVID Volunteer Coordination initiative.

Pam Bennett's support crew showed her plenty of love as she took out the Community Citizen of the Year award at the City of Mandurah's 2019 Australia Day festivities. Photo: Kaylee Meerton.

Pam Bennett's support crew showed her plenty of love as she took out the Community Citizen of the Year award at the City of Mandurah's 2019 Australia Day festivities. Photo: Kaylee Meerton.

But one of her biggest passions resides in her post as lieutenant at the Mandurah Southern Districts Fire Brigade.

She first put her name forward as a volunteer for the brigade shortly after the 2011 Lake Clifton fires.

Starting at the bottom with limited knowledge, she worked her way through the posts of secretary and training coordinator finally landing in her current lieutenant position.

"The 2011 fires hit a bit close to home and I decided joining the brigade was a good cause to give my time to," she said.

"That was a bit daunting because I'd never done anything like that, but I'm so glad I took the chance.

"The camaraderie in the brigade is second to none. It's a huge family atmosphere there and I've made friendships that will last a lifetime."

That same camaraderie is on offer for anyone volunteering within a community organisation, according to Pam, who encourages people to get involved.

"It's the best thing you will ever do," she said.

"The rewards of volunteering are huge. I'd definitely advise anyone to give their time as a volunteer."

Pam was named the City of Mandurah Community Citizen of the Year in 2019.