When you've been around the block of regional journalism a few times like I have, you realise that there are only so many stories out there.
Some of the staples here at The Echo are;
'people in the community being recognised for their good work'
'what the council is doing/not doing/arguing about'
'local pollie secures funding for project' (usually with a photo of a ribbon being cut or a shovel in hand)
'upcoming community events'
and (more broadly) 'interesting things that people get up to'
There are of course many other types of stories that we do, and I'm always happy to hear from readers if they've got an idea for something we should be including in the paper, but one of the story types I'm always happy to do is the 'local person volunteering in third world/disaster area'.
It was my pleasure to speak to Mike Greenslade (again) this week, after his return from Nigeria where he has been doing flood relief work.
In talking to Mike - and over the years many others who do this kind of work - I get the sense there is a real soul-nourishing satisfaction that most of us don't get from our day jobs. Obviously you need to be in a position financially where you can do this kind of work, but for those who do, the old cliché about giving being better than receiving certainly rings true.
After a long and successful career in business, my old man is now a man of leisure (and lawn bowls). He's always been involved with Rotary and other local charities, but he recently went to Indonesia, where he was involved with a project to put drinking water wells into rural communities.
Volunteer work like this allows people to use their skills to help others and see tangible benefits to their lives. And when you see people struggling with the basics of shelter, food and clean water, it makes you appreciative of the good fortune and opportunities you've had in your own life.
Hats off to Mike and other world citizens doing what they can to make this world a better place.