A WORD FROM . . . Dylan Rushbrook, Central Otago District Council group manager - community vision

In this era of seemingly endless bad news, I wanted to pick up on Shannon’s column ‘‘It’s a real privilege to cover community heroes’ stories’’ in last week’s News.

Shannon perfectly summed up the special nature of our communities, and the connectedness of small communities where volunteers are so often the fabric that binds us.

We can sometimes get caught up worrying about the small things, and fail to appreciate what is in front of us. We also fail to tell people how wonderful they are and how important they are to us.

This week I attended the celebration of [former journalist] Jo McKenzie-McLean’s life and was abruptly reminded of exactly those things by Jo herself in a video she had prepared earlier.

Jo was an incredible woman, whose positive determination in taking on the challenges life can throw at us was nothing short of remarkable, she has left a true legacy.

Five years ago, my wife and I moved to Central with our then 18-month-old boy Cooper. For me it was coming back after doing the career thing for a decade in the big city, for Natalie (and Cooper) it was a totally new adventure.

Since then, we’ve had another boy Beau, who is now four. We have made amazing new friends and reconnected with old ones. The boys are involved in all sorts of different sports and activities, it is honestly getting hard to keep up.

The thing that makes it all happen is the amazing human beings who make up this community. Whether it is the volunteers who run BMX, basketball, soccer, swimming, dance, or those that support them at school and daycare, we are surrounded by special people that make Central Otago one of the best places to live on the planet.

I regard myself as exceptionally lucky I get to work alongside a bunch of dedicated people who try to make this place even better every single day. It really is special when the work you do has a positive impact on the place you and your family call home.

So this week, my column is dedicated to all those unsung heroes across Central Otago that make this place so special.

To those that support our communities, that make things happen and are instilling lifelong values in our children, thank you for all that you do, we do see it, we absolutely appreciate it and you are the role models we want for our children.

Thank you also to Shannon and Jo for reminding me how special our