Harold's story - National Volunteer Week
Harold has spent all of his almost 92 years in Queensland and has only ever travelled down south a few times to do fruit picking in his “younger days”.
With some farm experience under his belt, in 1952 Harold invested in a cane farm in Gordonvale on the outskirts of Cairns. He said it was hard yakka (work) but rewarding work because it was his own farm.
Two years later Harold married his best friend Elaine Margaret, and they went on to have three daughters and a son, the oldest born in 1956 and youngest in 1970.
After 41 years of life on the farm, Harold and Elaine sold the property and entered the next stage of their life. Or as Harold puts it…“So, next came retirement”.
Having settled in the suburbs of Cairns, Harold couldn’t sit still, and used all the extra time he had to help out family and friends.
In later years, as Elaine’s health declined, Harold dedicated all his time to her and became her fulltime career. However, the time came where Elaine needed extra care, and with family support Harold made the decision to have Elaine move into a care home.
Harold said they only looked at one other home and felt it was not suited for his wife. Harold then came to Sheridan Gardens (now Bupa Mt Sheridan) and said “this is it”. So, on the 1st February 2012 Elaine became a resident of our home.
Harold came in every day to see his beautiful wife and spent many hours getting to know other residents their families and staff.
On the 22nd September 2014 Elaine passed away with Harold by her side.
Because Mt Sheridan was his wife’s home and Harold had built relationships with the residents and the team, he became a volunteer. He has been “working” at the home since late 2014, stopping only when COVID restrictions limited visitors to the home, and is a much-loved member of the team.
When I asked Harold what keeps him coming back every day to volunteer with us, he said “even though I have a big extended family and many friends I feel that if I didn’t come in here every day I would have nothing to keep me going. I love the residents and the staff here and they have become a part of me, so helping everyone else also helps me, that’s why I volunteer”.