The Salvation Army has always been a big part of my life, no matter where I have lived. Both my parents [Errol, 95, and Val, 93] were Salvationists. Dad was a Salvos band master and played the tenor horn and I have early memories of going along to church with them as a child.
I’ve been involved with the Salvation Army doorknock appeal since day one [in 1965]. For the past 25 years, I’ve been volunteering in the counting house, counting the money collected from the appeal.
I was born during World War II in Maryborough [255km north of Brisbane], the eldest of three children, with my sister Jan, 69, and brother Ross, 58. When I was just a few months old, the family moved to Toowoomba on the Darling Downs where Dad worked as a fitter and turner for Toowoomba Foundry.
After grade 10 at Harristown State High School, I took a job as a junior at the Bank of New South Wales [later Westpac] in Toowoomba because aptitude testing at school showed an office job would be best for me. My career with the bank lasted 35 years. It was a secure job and I was glad to have it. There was a lot of moving around in the job and I was stationed in places including Dulacca [380km north-west of Brisbane], Rabaul in Papua New Guinea, Helidon [east of Toowoomba], Ayr [south of Townsville], Mt Isa [north-west Queensland], and Brisbane.
My most senior role was as operations manager in the Brisbane Queen St office before I was retrenched in 1996. Then I worked as a credit officer for [pathologists] Sullivan Nicolaides and retired in 2001.
My wife June, 73, and I met at a Sunday school picnic in Toowoomba and have been married 47 years. We have three children – Craig, 44, Scott, 42, and Kylie, 41 – and six grandchildren. We attend the Salvation Army church at Carindale every week. I play tenor horn for the Salvos Fellowship Band. We rehearse two hours every week and perform about 15 concerts a year at aged people’s homes and for seniors’ groups as far away as Toowoomba, Coffs Harbour [northern NSW], Bundaberg and Rockhampton. June travels with me. I’m the secretary of the band and I’m also the volunteer coordinator for the Brisbane area.
Some of the doorknock money raised goes to Moonyah, a drug and rehabilitiation centre at Red Hill [in Brisbane’s inner west]. You hear stories of people who have been totally enslaved to drug addiction or in trouble with the law who have turned their lives around. It’s really achieving something.
When I see the results, it’s a great satisfaction. It makes it all worthwhile. This year the Salvation Army Red Shield Doorknock Appeal (next weekend, May 30-31) celebrates its 50th anniversary. salvationarmy.org.au
You hear stories of people who have been totaly ensla ved to drug addic tion or in trouble with the law who have turne d their li ves ar ound. it’s really ac hie vin g somethin g.