VOLUNTEERS WEEK: Here are some of Dalby’s volunteers
VOLUNTEERS WEEK: Here are some of Dalby’s volunteers

VOLUNTEERS WEEK: Meet some of Dalby’s best volunteers

THIS past week was volunteers week and the team at the Dalby Herald thought it would be a great opportunity to shine some light on unsung heroes, who work behind the scenes to make our communities great.

Here’s who we caught up with:

Ningana legend happy to help whoever needs it:

THERE are many volunteers that make the world go round, but none shine as bright as Ningana’s Lorna Apelt.

Often describes at the nursing home’s “right hand man”, Ms Apelt isn’t looking for glory, she just wants something to fill in her day.

“It has made my life so much easier since my husband passed away, it’s given me a new life,” Ms Apelt said.

“I used to do a lot of house work, I’m not a gardener I am just a house person and keeping the house tidy.”

Ms Apelt fell into her starring role by accident after visiting her mother at the Horace St facility one day.

“My mother was a resident at Ningana back in 1989 and I would go and visit her like all good daughters do.

“But this one day I helped another person out and then that person turned into another person and here I am all these years later.”

The 94-year-old wears many hats at the retirement village, helping out where ever she can.

“I am just there for whatever the girls need me for, really,” Ms Apelt said.

“We used to do hand care, massaging people’s hands and help them put cream on, we used to soak their feet all those nice touches that most people don’t think about doing.

“We help them play games like bingo, pretty much every game you can think of, some of them are good at it some are bad.

“We go on a lot of bus trips to get the residents out and about.

“Before all this coronavirus business we would try and get out twice a month on a bus trip and I help load up the bus or organise the morning teas for everyone, just whatever or whoever needs help I am ready to go, it’s just a lovely outlet for me.”

Despite being a regular at Ningana, Ms Apelt said the time away from the facility had been difficult but was optimistic of a return.

“If this coronavirus hangs around for much longer then I think it will take a toll because I haven’t been as active through this time, but I will continue to volunteer as long as my body will let me.”

Lorna Apelt outside of Ningana, Dalby.
Lorna Apelt outside of Ningana, Dalby.

Don dedicates decades to his community:

SPORTS and aged care are two areas where hard working volunteers keep things moving.

Don McPherson, OBE has dedicated four decades of his life toward volunteering.

He’s been involved with local cricket for 45 years as well as stints with tennis and soccer clubs.

“One of the grounds over there’s got my name on it,” he said.

Mr McPherson has served as president, secretary and groundsman of the Dalby Cricket Association during his time as a volunteer. He also served as the secretary for the former Western Downs cricket club for 21 years.

“In those days there used to be a Western Downs cricket that went from Cooyar to Charleville.”

Mr McPherson is also a life member of the Dalby and District Tennis Association.

His involvement in sport has also led him to some very rewarding experiences.

“The biggest one I got was Order of the British Empire medal in 1987,” he said.

“That was the biggest one I was surprised about.”

Singing has also been a passion of his having been part of a volunteer singing group since 2003.

“Some of us did a bit of singing at church and someone said you should get together,” he said.

They originally started with five members but it has since reduced to three over the years.

“But we still have a lot of fun and we do Ningana and Karingal and Taralga in Jandowae,” he said. “The oldies really enjoy it. We’d like to keep it going as long as we can.

“We’re looking for another couple to keep it going.”

If you’re interested in joining the singing group, feel free to give Don a call on (07) 4662 2866.

Don McPherson with his volunteer medals
Don McPherson with his volunteer medals

Jean on top of local history for 30 years:

THE Dalby Family History Society has gone a long way in uncovering the history of the town.

President Jean Town has generously volunteered her time to the society for the past 30 years.

“It’s a wonderful pastime,” she said.

“Two friends got me interested and we used to travel to Brisbane to find and look at the original records.

“Our library consists of many books, microfiche, CDs and film of the Dalby Herald up to 2008, which we look up for our requests.

“We have many requests, mainly online, but since the coronavirus there has been very few, which has been interesting. There has to be somebody out there that actually has to look at those records and get those records together.”

Mrs Town said the most exciting time of her volunteering was when she compiled a book of Dalby’s cemetery records.

“The cemetery book produced from contributions from family members was most interesting and gave an insight into the early life in and around Dalby,” she said.

“We produced a book from contributions from families Australia-wide.”

But a long history of serving the community has come with some disappointment as well.

“The biggest disappointment is the lack of early history displayed in Dalby,” she said,

“The signs along Myall Creek do help but gives little of the very early history.”

Mrs Town believes the society will continue well into the future.

“It will always be there as far as I can see, as long as there are people there that are interested in keeping the society going,” she said.

Jean Town outside of Dalby’s family history society
Jean Town outside of Dalby’s family history society

Volunteer will continue her reign:

DALBY Hospital Auxiliary’s longstanding treasurer has spent her entire life dedicated to giving back to the community.

“I have been fortunate enough to be involved in some great clubs and organisations throughout my life,” Mrs Crump said.

Allocating her spare time between organisations such as Meals on Wheels, Dalby Show committee and the CWA to name a few, Mrs Crump is still leading the pack with Karingal’s hospital auxiliary.

“I have been a part of the hospital auxiliary ever since it was formed so it would be every bit of 10 years, if not more.

“I am the first and only treasurer we have ever had, I was nominated in our first meeting and I am still going.

“I love to know what is required at the hospital or at Karingal that we can purchase to help those people out.

“I have always tried to get involved with different things.

“We used to have things like street stalls, raffles, baking sales and I just loved that work and working with other people.

“My husband and I have been living in Dalby for about 50 years now, but I have been volunteering for my whole life.

“I am going to do it for as long, which may not be for that much longer, really.

“I’m close on 90 years old so how much longer after that I’m not too sure it just depends on my health and the good lord above.”

June Crump and her husband Bill with a blanket donated to the hospital auxiliary
June Crump and her husband Bill with a blanket donated to the hospital auxiliary

Vinnies volunteers donate their time to serve customers and maintain the shop:

THE St Vincent de Paul Society in Dalby has many hardworking volunteers who donate their time toward running their op shop.

Margaret Taylor started volunteering with Vinnies in 2016, three years after she retired.

“I enjoy the interaction with all of our colleagues and our customers when they come into the shop,” she said.

“I really enjoy it.”

Miss Taylor works at the checkout serving customers as they come in.

“We just have to be more aware of social distancing and just make sure we don’t overthink.”

She said volunteering gave her satisfaction.

“I just enjoy doing what I do and I know it’s helping people.”

Catherine Mary Hiesler also donates her time toward volunteering with Vinnies.

“It was this time in 2009 that I joined,” she said.

“The Catholic Church asked if I could do some volunteer work.”

Mrs Hiesler enjoys talking to the locals and knows the Dalby community very well.

“I just about know the town inside out and all the country people around.

“It’s really pleasant!

“You always hear of other people’s problems and you’re just listening trying to help them out.”

Vinnies sometimes gets troubled people, including drug users, coming into the shop but the staff do what they can to help them out.

“I get them water,” she said.

“They seem to settle down with a little bit of help.”

Mrs Hiesler said most volunteers are retirees, but some younger people have come to help out.

If you would like to volunteer with Vinnies, feel free to contact the Dalby branch on (07) 4662 3497.

VINNIES VOLUNTEER: Margaret Taylor
VINNIES VOLUNTEER: Margaret Taylor

VINNIES VOLUNTEER: Catherine Hiesler
VINNIES VOLUNTEER: Catherine Hiesler

Unsung heroes throwing us a lifeline:

LIFELINE Dalby is back to business having reopened just this week following the forced closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nancy May Harding has volunteered her time with Lifeline for more than three years by providing customer service and maintaining the store.

“I love it!” she said.

“I talk to the customers, help them with whatever they may need.

“I only work three hours while we’re in this crisis.”

Mrs Harding said working at Lifeline gives her a sense of community and had been a really pleasant experience.

“We have just a couple of disgruntled customers,” she said.

“Other than that I enjoy my job and I love the people that I work with.

“They’re like a big family to me!”

Ann Pickstock is also one of Lifeline’s hard working volunteers having helped out for over 11 years.

“I was out on a farm when I first started,” she said.

“I unpack price items; sometimes I’m on the cash register assisting customers.”

Mrs Pickstock said volunteering at Lifeline lets you become friends with customers and fellow colleagues.

“We’re kind of like family to a lot of people.”

“We’re their social outlet.

“You become very good friends with them all.”

Mrs Pickstock has also volunteered with Protect All Children Today Inc. (PACT) for over four years.

“If a child is a witness to a crime the parents and/or guardians cannot go into court with them when they give their statement.”

“That’s my job, I got in there and act as a support person for them.

“It can be a very scary thing for a child to have to do.”

She heard about the position on the radio and filled out an application form, then attended training sessions in Brisbane.

“I had a group of siblings and the youngest was four,” she said.

“It’s takes between 16 to 18 months to get an item to court.”

Mrs Pickstock was unaware of the extent of abuse that some children faced before she started volunteering with PACT.

“I had no idea!”

“Maybe I didn’t want to listen but it has been quite stunning at times.

“It can break your heart.”

But there are some upsides to this difficult, but necessary job.

“Just to get the kids to give you a hug when it’s all over, it’s just wonderful.

“Hopefully they can get on with their lives again.”

If you would like to volunteer with Lifeline, feel free to call the Darling Downs office on 1300 991 443.

If you’re interested in volunteering with PACT, you can visit their website here.

Perfection is key for Dalby volunteer:

ONE Dalby volunteer is nearing close to three decades of giving back and is showing no signs of slowing down.

Maureen Nothdurf has been splitting her time at Dalby’s Our Lady of the Southern Cross College between the tuckshop, classrooms and uniform shop.

“I have been volunteering at the school for about 25 years now, since my daughters were little girls,” Ms Nothdurf laughed.

“I started in the classrooms, helping out wherever I could but then they needed help in the tuckshop and I just thought that it would be a great way to see my kids every day.”

Despite all of her children finishing school, Ms Nothdurf is still set on making her way down to Nicholson St for a while longer.

“We used to have this saying that you can only leave after you master everything in the shop,” she said.

“Apparently I haven’t mastered everything yet!”


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