CROYDON North volunteer Bill Brown has passed a milestone, notching up 20 years of service at Wesley Mission Victoria.
Despite much praise for his achievement, he sees it as a positive reflection on all Wesley volunteers, not just himself.
"There's talk about 'Wow, you've been doing it for 20 years' and to that I'd say, 'Thanks', but everyone should be thanked," Mr Brown says. "They're pretty wonderful people who do this work. It's not always easy."
Mr Brown, 78, has handled incoming stock at the Ringwood crisis centre for two decades, a task that
earned him the nickname 'cellar dweller' because of the countless hours he has spent downstairs packing stock.
Mr Brown says his passion for helping the less-fortunate stems from his childhood. "I grew up in England in not the most affluent circumstances," he says. "I guess I've always had this empathy for the needy.
"People think that it's hard to do the volunteer work I do, yet I always say that what you get back yourself is much greater than what you put in."
Two hip operations in the past two years slowed him down a little, but Mr Brown still volunteers at Ringwood two days a week. "I'd encourage people to get involved, or donate to Wesley Mission," he says.
Fellow Wesley Mission Victoria volunteers Alan and Wendy Chandler have also been acknowledged for their contribution to crisis and homelessness services in Ringwood.
The couple, from East Ringwood, share Mr Brown's sentiments. "It's certainly rewarding work," Mr Chandler says. "You're looking at people who are hard-up and experiencing tough times."
He appealed to residents to dip into their back pockets for others less fortunate. "Pasta sauce, tins of meat, breakfast cereals and soup are all items we are pretty short on," he says.