WARRNAMBOOL'S Michael Egan knows just how lucky he is to have had a fortunate life.
When he turned 18 he joined the St Vincent de Paul Society as a volunteer to give back to those less fortunate than himself.
Now 86, Mr Egan is showing no signs of slowing down.
On Sunday he was one of a handful of dedicated volunteers awarded the prestigious Emeritus Vincentian award at St Joseph's Warrnambool.
On the accolade, Mr Egan said it was important to not take things for granted.
"I've been very blessed in my life, I had an education and a good start in life from my father," he said.
"But there many people whose lives haven't been so blessed who are in need of support and that's why I joined St Vincent de Paul and stayed part of the organisation for all these years.
"It's a great organisation, you can help those people in need and it inspires you too."
Mr Egan started at Swan Hill and joined the Warrnambool branch when he moved to the city 30 years ago.
When he was a teenager all his friends joined various volunteer organisations, it was just the done thing back then.
Mr Egan is concerned by the lack of young people volunteering these days, and hopes to encourage more to become involved.
"It would be great to have young people involved, you just don't see them anymore," he said.
"We've all been blessed with so much, we should share with those who haven't."
St Vincent north western central council president Chris Pye congratulated all the volunteers on the day.
"The society is like a big family, all working together for the same cause," he said.
"The volunteers all bring talents and gifts to their work, whether it's visiting people in need in their homes, volunteer work in Vinnies shops, soup vans and other special works that assist people in need.
"It's uplifting for me to go to Melbourne and represent this part of the region."
Long-serving members were presented with badges for five, 10 and 20 years of service alongside the Emeritus Vincentians.
Fellow Emeritus Vincentian recipient Joe Starkie said being a volunteer was a rewarding experience: "I've met some very nice people through the society and am very pleased about the work that we do," he said.
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