Decades of dedication
BlueCare has always attracted caring, compassionate staff and volunteers, many of whom have worked with us for 30+ years. And that dedication to helping others is the definition of ‘blue-hearted’. Here, we reminisce with Cheryl and Carol, who have served us – and our clients – for more than 80 years between them.
“If I retired, I’d miss my job and the residents too much.”
Carol Morris has been working for BlueCare in the Townsville region for over three decades. And the Residential Services Liaison loves it more than ever.
Even after nearly 34 years, I still look forward to going to work. Showing prospective clients through our lovely facility at Mt Louisa is my favourite part of the job. It can be quite a stressful time for them, so I love being able to help make the transition easier.
When I first started in 1989, I had to brave the wildlife, and the heat. The office, which was in the Uniting Church building in Townsville city back then, had no ceiling fans or air con. We’d also get regular visits from the ‘Castle Hill goanna’ and have to run around finding blankets to catch and relocate the cheeky reptile.
Before electronic banking existed, I’d collect the residents’ pensions from the bank. They were paid into the Uniting Church account, and after the fees were subtracted, I’d give the residents the remaining money. Then 113 statements were printed and mailed to the residents’ families. This could take a whole day as the printer was not always co-operative.
Tropical Cyclone Yasi in February 2011 tested us all. It reached Townsville as a Category 3 cyclone. We had to evacuate Garden Settlement – where BlueCare was located then – and relocate to a gigantic college hall. Our residents seemed to enjoy the experience, later referring to it as a ‘camping excursion’!
I know I’ve got to retire at some stage – but I’ll miss it. I even miss the residents when I go on holiday. Having familiar faces they trust is so important to them all, but especially for the ones who don’t have any loved ones to visit them.
“I’ve been a BlueCare volunteer for over 50 years – and I don’t plan on stopping!”
Former registered nurse Cheryl Nott, 74, from Springwood in Brisbane, is one of our longest-serving volunteers. From doorknock appeals to admin support, she’s done it all.
I knew the first Blue Nurse, Sister Olive Crombie. She was a kind, humble person as you’d expect. I met her through her brother, Bert, in the 1960s when I was a kid.
Bert got me interested in the Blue Nurse Doorknock Appeal when I was a child. He was the co-ordinator at the time. I went from house to house – accompanied by an adult – collecting money in the Upper Mt Gravatt area. I ended up doing these doorknock appeals annually until the ’90s.
The Teddy Bear’s Picnic I organised to raise money is a favourite memory. This was in the late 1990s, and I had by then become a member of the Friends of The Blue Nurses, Springwood, to help raise funds for the service. There were different stalls selling everything from food to crafts, and all the kids brought along their teddies. It was a brilliant day, full of laughter and fun.
Around 26 years ago, I started volunteering as an admin assistant at BlueCare Springwood – and I’m still there. I go in every Friday and spend up to eight hours doing everything from filing and compiling people’s medical charts to making up patient folders, training packs…whatever necessary. I look forward to it every week.
Volunteering brings me so much joy. It’s an important part of my life. There’s never a dull moment!
Volunteer and change lives, yours included. Find out more at our volunteer page.