Mick Donelly bleeds blue. Be it as a player, sponsor or committee member, the 55-year-old has epitomised everything right with the Cargo Blue Heelers for the past two decades. So it seemed only fitting that during the Woodbridge Cup club's recent presentation night, Donelly was awarded a life membership. "To be a life member of any club is one of the proudest honours that can be bestowed to anyone who has been a volunteer," he said. "You don't volunteer for the accolades but when you've got more than 100 years of history at the club, it's pretty easy for blokes like me to come along and try to keep that legacy going." But despite his love for the club, even Donelly was surprised to still be part of the organisation all these years later "I didn't think I'd be in Cargo for 21 years let alone be involved with the football club," the former military man who moved around most of his life said. Donelly "retired" from rugby league in 1997 when he left the army to take care of his young family. Five years later he bought a home in Cargo and started to make friends with those at the Blue Heelers. He officially became involved with the club in 2003 and made his return to the park in 2007. That same year, Donelly started his three season stint as president to give Cargo stalwart Peter Seale a well-deserved break. '"Then when he came back refreshed I took over the secretary job for a while," Donelly added. "We've had a lot of different secretaries come through since then, all a lot better than I am." As for his playing days, Donelly retired for a second time following his 50th birthday but has always been willing to strap on the boots for a club that has given him so much joy. "Sometimes you've only got 14 players, so if I can run on and give a front rower ten minutes rest a half, then that's good enough for me," he added. "In these small rural communities, you need that outlet even if it's just once a fortnight in footy season where you can go down and scream your lungs out and support the local community. "Whether they win or lose, it's about that comradery and that was the sort of comradery I was missing when I left the army." Donelly believes when you get something out of a club, you should put something back into it. He helped achieve this as the club's major sponsor for 12 years as previous owner of the Cargo Inn. This past season was full of highs and lows for the Blue Heelers. The league tag team made an exhilarating run to the grand final, while the first grade side won just two games all year. But win or lose, Donelly couldn't imagine life with any other club. "Even when we're on struggle street, everyone still busts their arse," he said. "We can be getting beat 50-0 and still go back to the bar, have a quiet beer, a laugh and do it all next week." It's that inclusiveness which the newly minted life member believes is one of Cargo's biggest attributes. So when he sees other volunteers put in so much effort, it's not a tough task to lend a helping hand. "You become part of the fabric when the people around the club have the same sort of passion that you do," he added. "It's all about those little things you do as a club that I feel we do a little bit better than most." Reading this on mobile web? Download our news app. It's faster, easier to read and we'll send you alerts for breaking news as it happens. Download in the Apple Store or Google Play.