That is the dictionary’s definition but, for David McGahy, being a volunteer has no limits or boundaries.
A former captain of the Arthurs Creek Fire Brigade, David has given his time to CFA for almost 50 years and is currently the 2nd Deputy Group Officer for the Whittlesea Diamond Valley Fire Brigades Group.
He is also a member of five fire prevention committees, including the Nillumbik Municipal Fire Prevention Committee.
As well as his CFA commitments, David has volunteered for many community groups and projects including the Strathewen Tennis Club, Arthurs Creek District Landcare Group and Arthurs Creek Mechanic Institute Hall.
And for his service to the communities of Arthurs Creek and Strathewen, David is today being awarded a Medal (OAM) of the Order of Australia in the General Division. This is as part of 2012 Queen’s Birthday Honours.
“I feel very grateful to the local community who thought enough to put me forward for this honour – they are a great group of people,” David said.
As captain of Arthurs Creek in 2009, David’s award focuses heavily on his service to the community during and following the Black Saturday bushfires.
“Our area was very affected,” David said.
“Because of this, I am involved with a number of fire prevention committees – it is all to improve fire prevention to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
When David moved into the Arthurs Creek area he said there were two things that were “simply accepted”.
“You met your neighbours and you joined the CFA,” he said.
“But it’s a little like quicksand – you start as a novice, you progress through the ranks and then one day, you’re captain!”
David admits there is more to CFA than fighting fires, which is what has kept him volunteering.
“It’s the community spirit,” he said.
“You’re all there for the same reason and you all endeavour to do your best – it’s the interaction with the other volunteers and helping people that makes it so rewarding.”