Spirit of the Valley volunteer Mark Butler. PHOTO: EBONY GRAVEUR
Spirit of the Valley volunteer Mark Butler. PHOTO: EBONY GRAVEUR

UNSUNG HERO: Retiree’s reason behind multiple volunteer gigs

IT TAKES a certain kind of person to rug up in a head-to-toe woollen outfit in the middle of summer.

But that’s exactly what retired chef Mark Butler agreed to do when he heard Santa had called in sick for work.

“It was quite an experience – I just sat their for photos and the kids came up,” Mark said.

“The teacher handed out presents – they were all wrapped up.”

He was given a day’s notice but managed to pull it off, saving Christmas for a room full of Laidley kindy children.

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When it comes to lending a helping hand, Mark is an accomplished volunteer.

And given this week is National Volunteer week, it’s a great chance to celebrate and acknowledge the generous contribution of our region’s hard-working helpers.

After he retired from a career spanning 40 years, Mark moved to Laidley in 2016, to volunteer at the Laidley Pioneer Village.

After two years, he took up an offer to volunteer with his friend, Spirit of the Valley leader, Idell Wadley.

“The opportunity came up and I quite enjoyed the thought of working with Idell and what she was doing,” Mark said.

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“It’s become a big part of my life and I think it’s really important we do these sorts of things.”

Spirit of the Valley organises community events throughout the year, including the Lockyer Valley Multicultural Festival, NAIDOC week, and Village of the Doomed.

Mark volunteers as their treasurer and puts his cooking skills to good use as their chef.

“I’ve always loved bush tucker food and Idell has the contacts to get the supplies,” Mark said.

“So we’re going into schools, doing festivals and getting people into the food that’s native to Australia.”

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For Mark, the benefits of volunteering are numerous – including making a lot of good friends.

“It keeps you active, it keeps you involved with people, it gets you out of bed every day,” he said.

“I believe we are giving back to the community and, when you retire, you have a lot of time on your hands.”

To lend a hand at Spirit of the Valley, contact the group through its Facebook page or email form.

Read more stories by Ebony Graveur.


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