September 16th, 2014
By Brenda Gardiner, Program coordinator Quesnel Better at Home
I met Allan many months ago, when he accompanied his friend Patsy to my office. At the time, Patsy was providing housecleaning services on a part-time contract basis for Quesnel Better at Home. Allan overheard me telling Patsy how I needed more male helpers to do the yard work, and Allan decided then that he would also volunteer with Better at Home. Allan had heart problems in the past and knew he needed to become more active, so this opportunity seemed perfect for him.
Allan explained that he was not a people person, however. He assured he was a hard worker and would be happy to get a list of yards that needed mowing, although he was only interested in settings where contact with people was minimal.
Once Allan had his criminal record cleared, I contacted him about the 4 hours/week of yard work he had agreed to do. During the conversation, I mentioned that I had a long list of yards that needed mowing, so Allan asked me to send him as many as I had.
Our list of yards to maintain kept growing as my client base reached close to 200 clients. This meant Allan just kept getting busier. He finally called me one day to discuss his workload and indicated that he would like to squeeze his volunteering work into 3 full days a week. As I smiled to myself, we agreed to the 3 day term. This is a lot to ask of any volunteer, especially of someone who is a senior himself; Allan is 64!
To date Allan has logged 162 hours of yard maintenance and loves what he does. My clients have all called in and want him back. They say that he is a charming and “moves like a house on fire”.
Meanwhile, I started a new process of creating a weekly job board, and emailing the jobs out to all my volunteers. Allan called after receiving the email and said he could take on some odd repair jobs. Besides the 11+ yards he maintains per week, he now does window and gutter cleaning too!
I ran into Allan’s friend Patsy at the grocery store one day and she shared how happy Allan is to be doing what he does. He tells her about all the wonderful seniors he has met and how much he truly cares for them. He feels that he has purpose now.
Allan is an inspiration and a true testament of someone who has stepped outside his comfort zone to help other people. In the process, he has found a place for himself in the hearts of the many seniors he helps on a weekly basis. I am so pleased with him that I plan on nominating him for the “Volunteer of the Year” award in Quesnel , BC
Allan is a delight to work with; we are so lucky to have him.