Saturday, July 21, 2012

Tour of Duty

Never, ever, knock a volunteer! They are too hard to replace at the wages they demand!

88-year-old Beryl Connah has been volunteering for the past 17 years at 
Burrangiri Aged Care Plus Respite Centre in Rivett. Photo: Colleen Petch

They refer to her as their angel, a one-in-a-million kind of woman who has spent years bettering the lives of those nearing the end. Staff and residents at the Burrangiri Respite Centre, Rivett, in Canberra  say every organisation like it ''should have a Beryl''.
Beryl Connah has spent the past 17 years volunteering at the aged-care centre in Rivett, socialising with residents, serving meals and running the annual charity project. She has also become a great friend to many at the centre.

''They all love Beryl, she's such stimulating company,'' centre manager Robyn Bell said. ''She's very well-travelled and will bring in a presentation and talk about a place where she's been. She really participates as one of the staff, she's just got so much to give.''

Mrs Connah has worked as a nurse, a midwife and a teacher, however,  she said it was healthy for everyone to be part of something outside a normal day's work. She can't understand why there are not more people lining up to offer a helping hand. She said the best part of volunteering was the connections made and the conversations shared.

She also said volunteers had a real purpose in life.

''There are people that are perfectly capable but they don't volunteer for anything,'' Mrs Connah said.
''I wonder; how do you fill your life? 'If feel I've got to contribute rather than sit around. Life's been good to me so I can't sit back, I have to give something back.''

This month, the Salvation Army Aged Care Plus is campaigning to encourage volunteers ''to bring a friend''. The ''Bring a Buddy'' campaign aims to increase the number of volunteers in the capital.

 ''A lot of young people could learn quite a lot by being a volunteer - it may get them thinking about a job they'd like to do,'' Mrs Connah said. ''Even if they only came one day a week, they'd have a purpose in their life.''

Mrs Connah said the residents at the centre all had stories to tell about the things they had done in their lifetime, where they had been and the people they had met.

''We certainly laugh,'' Mrs Connah said.

Source: The Canberra Times

No comments: