Volunteers Starr and Rob | Bushfire Recovery

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Volunteers Starr and Rob | Bushfire Recovery

Starr and Rob have been regular volunteers for Habitat for Humanity Australia since June 2018. Mainly on the Brush with Kindness monthly maintenance programme at group homes and women’s’ refugees in Western Sydney.

But more recently they’ve been staying closer to home, and outdoors, in Habitat NSW’s Bushfire Recovery Programme.

“We live in the Blue Mountains so are very aware of the devastation that the last bush fires caused,” says Starr who for 20 years was a primary school teacher before going into clothing retail and then self-storage businesses. Rob is a Civil Engineer and worked in Nauru, Rarotonga (Cook Islands), then many years with Blue Mountains City Council and the last 12 years as an engineering consultant in Penrith.

“We have had a very full and busy family and working life and wanted a way to help the community and “give back,” Starr says. “We have been researching HFHA for years. The HFHA ideals and hands-on programmes, which have direct outcomes for real people, was a good match for us.

“Knowing that we have been able to help people in need by our work on the day, gives us great satisfaction. Nothing beats knowing that a person’s life is a little easier and their spirits are lifted by the work of HFHA. Working side by side with other like-minded volunteers from all walks of life is extremely satisfying.

“We are both active, hardworking and motivated. We are both very practical. Rob has skills in all manner of building and construction and can work out most building and maintenance challenges. His father was a builder and he has always had a keen interest in building projects.”

And the most satisfying part of volunteering: “Every volunteer day we have done has had different challenges and totally different jobs. This variety contributes to our satisfaction. The HFHA Volunteer Coordinator/Supervisors also efficiently manage the day and make sure that everything goes to plan. Volunteers always have a happy day.”

As well as spreading the word to friends about how enjoyable and rewarding volunteering with Habitat is, they have already made it a family affair by volunteering removing a damaged fence and putting up a new one, and log clearing, at a fire-ravaged property near Bell, with their daughter, Brock.

“Brock had a great day and is looking to volunteer again in the future,” says Starr. “We have another daughter but at the moment she has young children and a full-time job but will look into it in the future when she has more time.”

Apart from their work with Habitat, Starr and Rob also help out friends with building and maintenance projects and are active volunteers at the car club of which they are members.