WITH International Day of the Volunteer around the corner, Thornlands residents Jim and Linda Baldwin are looking back with fondness on 18 years of combined volunteering at the Mater Private Hospital Redland.
The worldwide event on December 5 is a chance for people to say thank you to volunteers in their local community.
Mr and Mrs Baldwin - who have been married for nearly 60 years and have lived in the Redlands for 32 - said volunteering had always been a big part of their lives.
In the past, the couple loved giving back to the community through school canteens, sporting clubs and other community organisations but in recent years, they have found their niche at the Mater.
Mrs Baldwin said she had started volunteering at the hospital after having surgery about 14 years ago.
"I found it was such a warm, friendly place to be and this was my way of giving back to say thank you to the wonderful teams who took such good care of me," she said.
"It's a very exciting place to be - I come here twice a week and help the nursing staff wherever possible. I can do anything from refilling stock, bringing patients warm blankets, distributing cups of tea and admin duties.
"It's pretty busy but we enjoy it."
Mr Baldwin had been driving Mrs Baldwin to her shifts at the Mater for years when he decided to start volunteering himself.
Now four years in, he enjoys working behind the concierge desk to direct patients, visitors and volunteers.
"Coming to the hospital can be a difficult or stressful time so I'm glad I can be there when (people) need it," he said.
Mr Baldwin said it was not just the patients who benefitted from the work of the volunteers.
"If you can make someone happy it makes you feel good," he said.
Volunteer co-ordinator Rachael Bowler said Mr and Mrs Baldwin were highly valued members of the Mater Redlands Volunteer Team.
"They are both such generous and kind people and we are lucky to have them as members of our volunteer team," she said.
"Volunteers contribute ... thousands of hours every year to Mater. That equates to thousands of moments of kindness and support."
To find out more about volunteering at Mater call 3163 8599.