MILESTONE: Rita Lengren celebrated over 40 years of service at Vinnies Dalby.
MILESTONE: Rita Lengren celebrated over 40 years of service at Vinnies Dalby.

Volunteer shares the secret to a successful life and long career

IT’S not a proper Friday at St Vincent de Paul in Dalby without Rita Lengren greeting you at the door with a smile and a helping hand.

The resident “check out chick” at Vinnies celebrated 46 years of volunteering at the store, as well as her 90th birthday on Friday.

Mrs Lengren has volunteered once a week, every week for more than 40 years, and started volunteering just as a means to fill the time.

“After the children went to school I wanted to do something and I thought they would be the best to help out,” she said.

“It’s just the good company and you’re helping out.”

Mrs Lengren has never looked back from those days, and has continued her volunteering position well after her children began having their own children and grandchildren.

The Vinnies staff hosted a lunch on Friday afternoon to celebrate the milestones.

Mrs Lengren said she was stunned to see the staff had decorated the store for her, and catered lunch with pizza and cake to celebrate.

“It was a surprise, it was a lovely surprise,” she said.

“We had a luncheon and I got a lovely bunch of flowers and we had a lovely lunch”.

Centre co-ordinator Leigh McDonald met Mrs Lengren nearly ten years ago and said every day has been a joy working with her.

“She’s been the Friday lady as long as I’ve known her and from day one she’s always made me feel welcome and everybody else has always been welcomed,” Mrs Lengren said.

“She is a very happy person … she’s straight down the line, there’s no grey, it’s just black or white.

“She does everything with precision, she remembers everything, she’s spot on and that’s the way she’s been.”

Mrs Lengren has one secret skill that has made her famous at the store, and its one she’s refined over her 46 years with Vinnies.

Mrs McDonald said at the end of every Friday she can guess how much money was made almost to the dollar.

But it’s not just her unbeatable skills that makes her such a pleasure to work with.

“Every Friday is a lovely day with her,” Mrs McDonald said.

Mrs Lengren said the key to living a long happy life was in the people you spend time with.

“Just have friends and get out amongst people,” she said.


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