When someone is making a real choice between life and death, they need a team of professionals in their corner.
Counsellors can often help turn things around just by being on the other end of the phone line. But when the situation reaches crisis point, those volunteers can’t always handle the pressure alone – they need the help of the police.
The bond between Lifeline South Coast and Illawarra officers is one that can’t be broken, which is why Graham Gould has nothing but admiration for the men and women in blue.
‘‘The police get involved when it’s really hard work,’’ said Mr Gould, who is executive director of the Illawarra charity organisation.
‘‘That’s where we work together, basically when people are choosing between life or death. Together we help them choose life.’’
This year, proceeds from the Illawarra Police Charity Ball will be shared between Lifeline and NSW Police Legacy.
The ball, to be held on July 31 at the University of Wollongong’s University Hall, celebrates a major milestone this year – 30 years and still going strong.
In 1985, then-sergeant Beverley Lawson, of the Wollongong Patrol, wanted to hold a function that would see local police and the community come together for a fun and social evening.
‘‘The central purpose of this function however, would be to raise much needed money to support local charities,’’ Inspector John Klepczarek said.
‘‘The ball is not purely a police event. Each year an average 300 people attend representing a broad cross-section of the Illawarra, from emergency service personnel to business representatives and members of the community.
‘‘The ball is regarded as a community celebration which aims to provide a great night out, while at the same time raising much-needed money for local charities. There is a lot of passion and pride and we want to keep it alive,’’ he said.
‘‘To date, the ball has raised over $300,000 for local charities and will continue building on this tremendous amount.’’
Mr Gould said money donated to Lifeline this year would be used to purchase a new truck for the organisation’s recycled clothing operations.
‘‘The truck is an important part of what we do. It enables us to make our own money through recycled clothing, supporting our warehouse.
‘‘We want to continue to provide great stuff for our customers and make money so we can help people who are choosing between life and death.’’
For details about the ball visit www.policecharityball.com.au or call 42230851.