Helping others rewarding for Shane
Volunteers are the largely unsung heroes in our community. In the first of a series of profiles on volunteers
‘‘There’s an overwhelming number of kind people in Nelson,’’ Shane Torrance, one of Nelson’s kindest people, believes.
He is a volunteer for Presbyterian Support, a nonprofit organisation that works with communities to provide support for a variety of people, but especially the elderly.
Shane spends his days with elderly men and women, many suffering from memory disorders or social isolation.
He helps collect attendees from their homes and brings them to programme activities, where they are part of a community.
He knows what it’s like to feel that you might lose your independence, having lost both of his legs and his sight due to complications from diabetes.
Despite this, he lives alone, completely independently.
Shane volunteers as a way not only to maintain his own independence, but to help others who may be struggling with theirs.
He has been volunteering for over four years, and in that time, has developed an extensive network and made many friends. When he started, he was just looking for something to do.
‘‘You’ll never put in as much as you get back,’’ he said, describing the benefits of volunteering.
‘‘Just do it. Everyone who you help needs it more than you, but you get back two times what you put in.’’
As he makes cups of tea and coffee for the dozens of elderly people taking part in the Enliven program, Shane is in his element.
He described the struggle to earn the trust of the men and women in the programme because of his tattoos and uniform of heavy metal t-shirts.
Some of the women would not even allow him to hold their purse as he assisted them in and out of the shuttle bus. Now he is clearly more than a volunteer, he is also a friend.
Shane’s contribution to the community was recognised at a recent event by Presbyterian Support and Volunteer Nelson, in which he was presented with a Certificate of Appreciation and a gift voucher from a supermarket.
Shane Torrance was presented with a certificate of appreciation by Presbyterian Support member Belinda Harte.