There are many things we have learned in our years of operating. One of the first and most important lessons is that volunteers are at the core of positively connecting communities. More than the logistical running of a shift, Orange Sky volunteers (who we often refer to as ‘vollies’) are the heart and soul behind what we do. From Wadeye to Wollongong, thousands of volunteers across the country don an orange shirt and support their community through the provision of clean clothes, warm showers and genuine conversations.

Today is International Volunteer Day, and we want to say THANK YOU to every legend who dons an orange sky shirt. From Wadeye to Wollongong and across the ditch to Wellington, we’re grateful to the thousands of volunteers who provide friends with access to clean clothes, warm showers and genuine conversations.

Gold Coast volunteer Dave McConville is one of those people. For the past five years, he’s provided support to his community and has become a valued member of the Set Free shift team. 

People like Dave are the reason that friends feel safe and excited to return to shifts each week. And while Dave’s tagline might be, “it’s too easy”, our friends, volunteers, and service providers benefit from the seeds of trust and support he has sown. 

We had the pleasure of speaking with two Gold Coast volunteers to learn a bit more about what makes Dave so special. We hope you enjoy reading a little about a vollie who has made such a positive impact on the Gold Coast community. Thanks to Jane and Pat for sharing your memories with us!

Tell us a little about Dave.

When I think of Dave, I think of his willingness to help anyone and any situation. If I could describe him in three words it would be by his most common catchphrases; “it’s too easy” and “it’s no worries”. No matter the issue – a generator, hot water or safety precautions – his relaxed and conscientious attitude made our Gold Coast shifts run so smoothly. Beyond this, at his core, he is simply a great person with a magnetic personality. 

Do you have a moment or story about Dave that is particularly special?

Dave volunteered for five years and I can truly say that all moments, shifts and conversations have been special. He is just like that! But an important moment for us came during the first wave of COVID lockdowns. There was a lot of uncertainty, however, Dave did everything he could to support us starting our shifts again as early as we could. There were quite a few volunteers who weren’t able to return to shift, but Dave went the extra mile to ensure we could get back out there and help friends. He worked hard to set and follow all safety protocols on shifts, which alleviated fears. Despite the physical distance and barriers needed during those early COVID shifts, Dave still had a way of fostering connections with friends and easing concerns. It takes someone special to be able to form strong connections from a distance and at such complex times.

What type of connections did Dave facilitate on shift?

Dave’s personality is magnetic. What I mean by that is that within a minute, people feel like they already know him, and he them. Dave is so genuine and non-judgemental. It didn’t matter who walked on shift – their age, background, or what stage of life they’re in. He welcomed everyone wholeheartedly, and that connection was always reciprocated. Dave is a friend to everyone.

What impact has Dave had on the service?

We cannot understate the magnitude of Dave’s support for the Gold Coast shifts. Not only does he foster a wonderful energy, he is always willing to give things a go to keep shifts running. He managed all of our mechanical and technical components on shift while making people feel safe and heard. Dave is just a great guy who wholeheartedly emulates what it means to be an Orange Sky volunteer.

So, from the Gold Coast team and everyone from the Orange Sky family, thank you Dave. We are so grateful for your efforts and gift of time to our community! 

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