A life of volunteering is something that comes naturally to banker Vodo Shaw.
He started volunteer work seriously 12 years ago, when he joined the Fiji Red Cross Suva branch as a safety first aid instructor.
But it was through his work at Westpac Bank that he first became interested in volunteering. He became a qualified first aid instructor and he did his practical by volunteering to become the medic for the Marist rugby club for many years.
"I was a member of our OHS committee here at the bank and as part of our training we learned First-Aid. That was when I first got into contact with the Fiji Red Cross. I love the work they do and the way they dedicate themselves to saving and improving the lives of the most vulnerable."
"I guess, growing up, it was something that I had always wanted to do. It was something that just came naturally," Vodo said.
His work with Red Cross involved travelling to various communities in villages, squatter settlements, churches, schools and to community groups to teach first aid.
"Since I was a full time employee with Westpac bank, all volunteering was done after work or weekends, and since I was part of my workplace's first aid team, we were always on standby during sports fixtures or at fun days and where ever else our help was needed," he added.
Vodo is part of the Red Cross emergency response team that is usually mobilised immediately after a natural disaster, and this has been happening through the many floods, cyclones and other natural disasters to have struck the country in the last 10 years or so.
"My employer was very understanding and released me from work to help the Fiji Red Cross with disaster response and relief work," Vodo said.
One of his worst memories as a Red Cross volunteer happened in April of 2004 when a bus driven at the height of a flood tumbled down a slope and into the Wainibuka River.
"We helped the police search for the missing bodies. We sighted the dead body of one of the passengers on the riverside. I silently cried and thought of that person's loved ones and what was going through their minds at that very moment," Vodo recalled.
He came off this incident with a positive outlook as he continued with his life as a volunteer. And the dedicated man says he has never regretted a single moment dedicated to this worthy cause.
"It has made me a better person. I used to be one of those who watched TV and saw the damage done by disasters and feeling sorry for the victims. I got to see for myself the suffering and the tears that the victims go through. I was able to do something about it.
"The motivation for me was to see the smile on the faces of the people we were helping. That gave me a sense of fulfilment and satisfaction," Vodo said.
While Vodo is mindful of the impact and the difference he is making to the lives of complete strangers by dedicating his time, he says it is not all that easy.
"My life as a volunteer has not been easy. I sacrificed a lot of family time to be a volunteer. I thank my family for being understanding and very supportive. I believe that anyone can be a volunteer," he said.
Vodo says he will continue to be a volunteer for the Red Cross for as long he is needed.
I have never considered quitting and I'm ready to respond when needed. As long as the Fiji Red Cross Society needs me, I'm always ready," he added.
Already, two of his four children have followed in their father's volunteering footsteps and have become certified first-aiders.
"When my kids were younger, I used to take them with me to my first aid sessions. Now, they they have taken up volunteering also. My two elder sons are fully certified first aiders. They took it up on their own," Vodo said.
Working with the different communities is now part of him, as with his banking work, Vodo is also travelling to different communities.