Longest Serving Volunteer Driver Retires After 18 Year On Road
REDLAND CITY BULLETIN, Wednesday August 07, 2019
COURIER MAIL, August 01, 2019
SENIORS BRISBANE, September 2019, Page 42
Cleveland (13 Aug 2019). For nearly two decades Bob Curry served his local community by volunteering as a community transport driver for the elderly and people with disability. He has finally swapped car keys for a cuppa by retiring from what he describes as “the most rewarding experience of his life”.
After eighteen years of transporting the aged, frail and those with disabilities to their medical and social appointments, seventy-five-year-old Bob Curry has retired from his role as volunteer driver with STAR Community Services.
Bob joined STAR back in 2001. “I had worked for a shipping company for over 30 years. Looking for a volunteering role, I went to the Volunteering Queensland office in Brisbane City. When I mentioned that I enjoy driving, I was told that STAR need drivers to transport people during what was then called the Redlands Strawberry Festival.” Bob reminisces. “I immediately joined up and the rest is history. I have enjoyed every day of my time on road with my passengers- listening about their rich experiences, sharing memories and simply enjoying our chats.”
In his 18 years with STAR, Bob has driven thousands of Redlands residents to their medical appointments, social visits, shopping trips etc. “Without community transport, many vulnerable people of our community would struggle with their transport. When one loses their driving license due to medical or other reasons, they become extremely socially isolated. It is an essential service to keep people engaged and active.”
When asked about a special memory, Bob says he has so many remarkable memories from the last 18 years, that he could write a book. “The one trip that really sticks out for me was an afternoon when I picked up a passenger from a medical centre in the city. He was extremely frail, had a walker but struggled to even take a few steps. I helped him in the car. As we started driving back to Cleveland, a terrible storm hit the city. We crawled through the worst traffic conditions I have ever experienced. I tried to make some conversation with my passenger, but he was too frail to even talk.”
“Several hours later we eventually got to his home in Redlands. It was still raining heavily. I could see that the path to his front door was very uneven. I got out of the car, helped him out, and we slowly made our way to his front door in pouring rain. We were both drenched within a few seconds. He fumbled in his pocket for his key and we eventually got inside. I helped him sit down and settle before I left.”
“That experience really moved me and made me realise how critical it is to have a reliable transport service. Without an affordable option, aged and frail people would struggle to get the medical attention they need, or even go about their everyday business- especially when they don’t have family or friends to rely on.”
“People thank me for the service, but I always say that I may need the same service one day.”
Spending more time with the grandchildren, looking after his own health and staying in touch with his community are all high on the agenda for Bob’s retirements years. “I am looking forward to some free time with the family.”
When Bob Joined STAR Community Services, the office had only three office staff and four vehicles. 18 years since, STAR is now an award-winning organisation with over 60 vehicles and 180 volunteers. “We thank Bob for being STAR’s longest serving volunteer driver. His dedication and commitment in supporting us in our mission to support the vulnerable, is inspirational. He has been a great friend to our team and our clients,” said Rob Spencer, STAR Community Services Chairperson.
Bob says that his experience as a volunteer has made him more appreciative of his local community. “I encourage everyone to try volunteering. We are all cogs in the same wheel- supporting each other and keeping the community moving.”
STAR is inviting volunteers to lend a hand. A variety of volunteering roles are available with STAR including administration, contact centre volunteers and volunteer drivers. Simply call STAR on 3821 6699 for more information.