SALVATION literally knocked on David Lodge’s door when he was 15-years-old.
Mr Lodge said he was a “loner” and “in a bit of depression” and was about to take his own life when he heard a knock at the door.
“That was the Salvation Army,” he said.
“They saved my life by seconds.”
“I found a purpose in life then.
Fifty-three years later, Mr Lodge is still giving his time to the organisation as an envoy in the Salvation Army.
Tamworth Regional Council celebrated the city’s volunteers this week with its annual “gift of time” ceremony year held in conjunction with International Volunteer Day to formally thank volunteers within community organisations for their efforts.
Council tallies the free hours worked by the region’s volunteers across a broad stroke of groups and organisations.
This year, 213,029 hours worth of work were donated.
More than 35,000 of those hours were gifted by local Salvos’ troops in the family store, the warehouse as well as through community service and various events.
Mr Lodge’s lifelong work with Salvos took him to many corners of remote Australia, from Broken Hill and Wilcannia, up to Cairns and Weipa.
But many Tamworth locals may recognise Mr Lodge best from his post as manager of the family store on Peel St, which he held for 17 years.
While the Red Shield owned a big slice of Tamworth’s volunteering pie, it’s become an act less people are willing to perform, Mr Lodge fears.
They saved my life by seconds. I found a purpose in life then.- David Lodge Salvation Army Envoy
He said there wasn’t a lot of interest from younger generations in particular.
“It’s going out, sadly,” he said.
Mr Lodge said there was no shortage of volunteering options for people in the region.
“In Tamworth, even the little ones, there’s around about 120 charities,” he said.
“So, there’s quite a bit going.
“It’s a shame, [because] they change a lot of people’s lives.”
Council paid respect to a long list of volunteering groups at the “gift of time” ceremony at the community ceremony.
Oxley community transport was recognised for more than 15,000 hours donated driving the frail, disabled and disadvantaged around town and providing medical transport.
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