Linda Carter was raised in the central Rangitikei township of Mangaweka, where her parents were active volunteers. Now, her own volunteer work in Whanganui has earned her a certificate, a volunteer lapel badge and a $40 voucher from Mud Ducks, presented by Volunteer Whanganui manager, Sandra Rickey.
"I've been volunteering since I left school," she says. "Both Mum and Dad were heavily involved in the community — Plunket, Playcentre, fundraising — in those days they had cabarets at the local hall — home and school, board of trustees, Scouts, Guides: that's what you do in a rural community.
Linda left school after 7th Form and worked for the BNZ in Wellington, giving her a financial background.
"I joined the 1st Karori Scout Group and volunteered there, so I've been in Scouts: first Brownies, then Scouts, then Venturers and carried that on."
Linda got engaged to be married and came to Taihape to work for the ANZ. She joined the Taihape Scout Group and also the Otaihape Alpine Club where she was on the committee for 20 years as treasurer. She also volunteered with Playcentre.
"I got involved with the Taihape Horticultural Society and ended up as their treasurer. Pre-children I was invited on to the finance committee of Mangaweka Plunket."
That led to the Mangaweka sub-branch, the Taihape branch, in jobs such as the toy library, car seat co-ordinator ... "It rolled and grew." Most of those responsibilities Carter retained, even after moving to Whanganui in 2009.
The Whanganui move was after her marriage ended and the need to be near a city hospital. Linda has three sons, two with Type 1 Diabetes.
"When I came here it was starting from scratch and I poured all my effort into getting the kids settled. Then I got involved with Birthright and helped with their raffle ... and went along to a Diabetes AGM to see what was available."
She joined the committee and recently became its treasurer after also filling the role of president.
"In 2013 I did my Veterinary Nursing Certificate and ended up working with Riding for the Disabled [RDA] the following year, joined their committee and became their treasurer."
Although no longer actively involved with RDA she still attends their annual meetings.
Linda is a cub leader at St Johns Scout Group.
"Through Scouts I've done four jamborees on staff."
Through Covid-19 all Scout activity is on line and Diabetes Whanganui has yet to meet again face to face.
Recently, after a false alarm to help out Civil Defence, Linda joined Sandra Rickey and others to volunteer at the City Mission Foodbank.
"Their volunteers are in that compromised age group: it's been awesome. We had enough people to make two teams and we worked one day on, one day off. A couple of weeks in and a fortnight after that we all came in and did break down and packing of items. There has been big demand and from people who have not used the service before now.
"I have been amazed at the generosity of Whanganui businesses."
That included restaurants and Higgins Poultry Farm, for example. Carter is at Foodbank three days a week, probably until level 1, but she says it's something she might continue with.
Linda has also helped sell raffle tickets for Arthritis Whanganui.
"Most organisations I get involved with I've had a connection."
Linda's volunteer work extends beyond the bounds of this story and will continue for many years to come. She serves as an example to others, especially her children.
"I want them to have more than what I had but I want them also to not be limited by anything. You can roll your sleeves up, get in there and make it happen, if you truly want it. Every day it's up to you."