Bob has been one of Hospice West Auckland’s volunteer drivers for several years. Having had several family members cared for by Hospice, he was already familiar with Hospice and the services they provide. When he retired it gave him the perfect opportunity to get involved and give back to the organisation that supported his loved ones in their time of need.
Volunteering can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience – something that Bob wholeheartedly agrees with. “I’ve got the time now and I really enjoy it,” he says. “I look forward to my driving days. Everyone is friendly and helpful, I’ve made friends and it’s just a great organisation to be a part of. The staff are so dedicated and as volunteers it’s nice to be able to support them.”
Bob drives for Hospice two days per week. A typical week usually involves picking up patients and driving them to attend therapy sessions at Hospice House, as well as equipment runs picking up and delivering items like wheelchairs, walking frames and commodes. On any given day he can travel all over the West Auckland region, from New Lynn to South Head and everywhere in-between. “On equipment days I never know where the schedule will take me. I like that because every day is different,” he explains. “I work out the most efficient way to organise my day and get the deliveries done, and I get to know patients and families along the way.”
Despite the long days on the road, Bob can recall only one incident where he got into trouble. It involved a very steep, muddy driveway in Huia with no space at the bottom to turn around, and the two-wheel-drive van couldn’t reverse back up the driveway. Luckily a passing van heard the commotion and happened to have a tow rope to pull Bob back up the driveway. He’s more wary now of steep driveways and always errs on the side of caution by parking on the road and carrying the equipment in!
Bob has also volunteered at Hospice events over the years, including the Back to the 80s dance parties, and has even given a perfect portrayal of Santa at the Light Up Hospice Christmas events. He says that volunteering for Hospice has made him appreciate how important it is to live every moment. The volunteering team are well-supported too, with regular morning teas and fun activities to socialise at. “The volunteers are a great bunch – it’s easy to make friends,” he says.
And would he recommend volunteering for Hospice? “Absolutely!” he smiles. “Do it – get involved, you won’t regret it!”