A helping hand comes round

15 May 2013



Ron and DeeSouthwest Queensland farmer Jennifer Crocker is the type of person who likes to help out. She is passionately involved in various community groups and regularly puts her hand up when things need to get done. She recently hosted a market and garden day which raised $4000 at her local church.

It is this sort of selfless giving of time and energy that holds remote communities together.

However, Jennifer knows that her commitments in the community, on top of running a large property with her husband, mean that the little jobs at home start piling up.

So it was a wonderful instance of ‘what goes around comes around’ when two Outback Links volunteers recently arrived at Jennifer’s home to help her and her husband Malcolm, who is recovering from a shoulder injury.

Denise Williams and her friend Ron Cleghorn spent a week at Jennifer’s property helping them catch up on all kinds of jobs that had been pushed to the side.

“Thank you for placing Dee and Ron with us,” said Jennifer. “Dee is bright, positive and a great support. She is fit for her age and interested in everything.  She came with me to church on Sunday and we went on to the spa for a relaxing swim - which I wouldn't have had without her urging.”

“Ron had enough sense to rest when he ran out of puff but still managed to do the jobs we had listed. He did my job of opening and closing the gates in the cattle yards one afternoon which saved me time and gave him a huge thrill. The retail businesses he owned is quite different from our business but many of the thought processes are the same and he asked interesting questions at meal time, as well as sharing his experiences.”

Denise, a long-time Outback Links volunteer, knows that running a large property means that there are always many jobs to be done. “They have to be so self-reliant and self-starters. The environment here is dry and harsh.”

“The best thing about this experience was meeting new friends in Jennifer and Malcolm and immersing myself in their way of life. The outdoor work and life were a breath of fresh air. I think they really appreciated the company, just as much as the work we did.”

It was a great surprise and happy coincidence when Jennifer discovered that Ron was a qualified piano tuner and he was able to take a look at the piano in a local community hall.

“I have pleaded, begged and tried to bribe a piano tuner to look at the piano but they come out to their regular clients and are gone before they fulfil their promise to contact me,” said Jennifer. “I doubt if one in a million Australians would be a fully qualified piano tuner, so Ron was a treasure.”

While Ron could not fix the piano, he was able make an assessment on the repairs needed and the likely cost.

For Jennifer, the extra help from the Outback Links volunteers means that she can continue to help out in her own community.  

“My dilemma is whether to stop reaching out and get more jobs done at home; or whether to maintain secretaryships and enrich the community, then call for help when the little jobs at home mount up.”

“I think we all felt enriched by the placement. Thank you again.”