National Volunteer Week | Luke O'Garey

Thursday 23 May 2024

Volunteering is a way of life for Luke O’Garey who has been involved in Surf Life Saving Tasmania for over forty years.

Last year, Luke was awarded DHL Volunteer of the Year at SLSA’s annual Awards of Excellence in recognition of his commitment to Burnie SLSC.

“Surf lifesaving has been my life since I was five years old and I feel myself around the club, and seeing our members take their own journey is great and if I can help in some small way, I feel I am helping out,” said O’Garey.

O’Garey has held a number of roles throughout his years volunteering such as Club Captain, Club Coach, Nipper Coach, Patrol Captain as well as the State Surf Coach. Having also played a part in designing and facilitating development camps for SLST and SLSA, including being part of development delegations to USA, Singapore and New Zealand, O’Garey said the experiences have been invaluable.

“For me it's about giving back, I have been extremely fortunate with opportunities SLS has given me,” he said. “I’ve been around the world with the movement, met so many great people and learnt so much

“I have gained so much in my career with SLS and my personal life. I want to be able to pass what I have to offer onto the upcoming and future members of Surf Life Saving.

Reflecting on receiving his SLSA AOE award, O’Garey shared he was humbled to be recognised nationally.

“Some of the Kingston Beach SLSC ladies will confirm, I was extremely shocked and it took a bit to register,” said O’Garey.

“I was surprised to win the SLST Volunteer of the Year let alone the Australian. I was honoured to get the award in Tasmania as I personally see what our volunteers do down here.

“I felt proud that the award was coming to Tasmania to be honest as we are one of the smaller states and can go unnoticed on occasions.

“My award sits down at the club as I feel that is where it belongs, it's more about the club and all our members that have allowed me to do what I do, so many people have mentored or shown me what you can do so feel it's more about them than mine.”

O’Garey encourages everyone to give volunteering a go, whether that be through SLS or another interest, as it has brought much joy and meaning to his life.

“First, ask yourself, ‘What is your why? Is there something specific you want to do? Are you passionate about it?’ Then align your interests and personality with these,” he said.

“Volunteering provides the opportunity to meet people that have similar interests and learn things from a diverse group, being part of something just for the love of it while helping our community and others. I feel it provides me with a sense of purpose.”

National Volunteer Week | Luke O'Garey