Or­di­nary peo­ple

The Courier-Mail - QWeekend - - UPFRONT - ELISSA LAWRENCE

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.

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