FOR this year's National Volunteer Week, more than six million volunteers across Australia were shown thanks and appreciation for their vital help in bettering their communities.
The Sunshine Coast also helped celebrate the hard work by numerous volunteers.
One of them is SES Sunshine Coast North deputy controller Carol Watkins.
The now 61-year-old has worked with the SES Cooroy branch for close to seven years, signing on as a volunteer after moving to Noosa to retire.
"I wanted to do something totally different to what I had done in my working life," Ms Watkins said.
"And I always love a challenge."
Since first donning the fluoro orange suit, Ms Watkins has attended countless motor vehicle accidents, helped conduct intensive land searches and assisted in hours of emergency response work.
"My role is supposed to be more about planning and strategic responsibilities," Ms Watkins said.
"But because Cooroy is such a small group, me and the local controller are more hands-on in our operations ... which suits me fine because I don't want to be behind the desk full-time."
Ms Watkins said she is often on call 24/7.
She recalls attending a Bruce Hwy accident for 19 hours and running week-long land searches.
"Anything can happen, day or night," she said.
"I would sometimes find it quite hard or disappointing when it's not the best of outcomes for a land search or an emergency dispatch.
"But I'm not shy of the hard work, and for me, it's always ended up being very rewarding."
Landsborough Rural Fire Brigade volunteer Julia Meaker also finds her work with the local fire fighters to be an invaluable experience.
The 33-year-old said surviving the Ash Wednesday bushfires in Victoria as a child served as a turning point in her life, following in the footsteps of her uncle.
"I was only five but I remember it vividly ... how our house was fine and that I was even donating toys to children who had lost everything in the fires," Ms Meaker said.
"It left a mark on me, and I guess that's what made me want to do it when I got older. I never lost that want."