RangeCare's longest-serving volunteer, Jim Coles, has been awarded Senior Citizen of the Year at the 2022 Sunshine Coast Australia Day Awards.
Jim’s involvement with RangeCare started in 1994 and he has seen the organisation grow and change significantly over his 27 years of volunteer work. Jim was initially one of a small group of founding members who mainly delivered meals and went out to have a friendly chat with elderly people in the local community. He became an early member of our organisation and joined the Blackall Range Care Group’s voluntary Management Committee, where he served for 14 years. The last 3 years of his time on the Management Committee, Jim served as Vice President. In his early days on the Committee, Jim was instrumental in raising money to complete important renovations at the RangeCare site in Flaxton, including a verandah, art room and courtyard for our clients. After this, Jim was heavily involved in raising funds and developing plans for a new building at the Flaxton site. This was a critical time for Blackall Range Care Group and set the foundations for the organisation to grow into what it is today - currently supporting over 2000 people in the Sunshine Coast community.
While no longer on the Management Committee, Jim remains an active member of the organisation and currently volunteers at least twice a week in RangeCare’s Op Shop in Mapleton since it opened in 2018. At 91, his energy and enthusiasm for supporting his local community has not waned. Jim thrives on connection with the other volunteers and loves the social aspect of volunteering, often enjoying a good banter with the Op Shop customers. There are regular customers who come in just to see Jim or to sing along to his music selection on the day. Jim’s passion for the community in which he lives and for helping others is obvious to everyone that knows him. He takes great pride in volunteering and the opportunity of being able to make a difference.
"I really enjoy the work I do for RangeCare. I'm continuing to do it as long as I can, because I know the money that we raise, particularly from the Op Shop, which is one of my favourite places to work, goes to local people who need the services provided by RangeCare." said Jim Coles in his acceptance speech.
RangeCare CEO Greg Mannion was at the award ceremony with Jim. “The Senior Citizen of the Year award is fitting recognition for Jim’s almost 30 years of service to RangeCare. Not only did Jim play an integral part in the foundation of Blackall Range Care Group, but he has also continued to support the organistation far beyond anyone's expectations. Continuing to volunteer in his 90s is an admirable accomplishment and Jim is still just as enthusiastic about his work as ever. We absolutely love having him working in our Op Shop, as do the customers who regularly visit just to have a chat with Jim. It is volunteers and individuals like Jim that have made RangeCare into the community organisation it is today. We are incredibly proud to have his support and wish him our most heartfelt congratulations for winning this award.”
Congratulations Jim! We are so proud and grateful for everything you have done and continue to do to support RangeCare.