St Vincent a beacon for dedicated disciples

JOYCE Lehmann has watched the presentation and public appeal of Vinnies op shop in Warrnambool improve markedly during her 44 years as a volunteer.

Vinnies op shop volunteers (left to right) Nell Dorney (39 years of service), Ray Kenneally (40 years), Joyce Lehmann (44 years), Margaret McNarmara (26 years), Shirley Claven (27 years) and Colleen Ryan (22 years) in the Warrnambool store where they regularly contribute their time. 140714AM15 Picture: ANGELA MILNE

Vinnies op shop volunteers (left to right) Nell Dorney (39 years of service), Ray Kenneally (40 years), Joyce Lehmann (44 years), Margaret McNarmara (26 years), Shirley Claven (27 years) and Colleen Ryan (22 years) in the Warrnambool store where they regularly contribute their time. 140714AM15 Picture: ANGELA MILNE

“Now it’s like a boutique. It shines,” Mrs Lehmann said. 

Mrs Lehmann is one of several long-serving volunteers at Vinnies Warrnambool store recognised for their extensive contribution to the operation, which raises money for the St Vincent de Paul Society. 

Others to notch up impressive service records include Ray Kenneally, 40 years, Nell Dorney, 39 years, Shirley Claven, 27 years, Margaret McNamara, 26 years, and Colleen Ryan, 22 years.

Mrs Lehmann said she sorted through an amazing variety of donated goods but it was the camaraderie of her colleagues that kept her volunteering.

Mrs Lehmann said the store was enjoying an increasing number of donations but still had occasional quiet times.

She said she was often surprised at what people donated.

“Some are absolutely new things,” she said.

Mr Kenneally said wedding dresses and tuxedos were among the huge spectrum of donated goods.

“You never know what comes through the door,” he said. Mr Kenneally said volunteering at Vinnies had become part of his way of life and was a great way to meet people.

For Nell Dorney, it comprises a full working week, often spending five-and-a-half days at the shop. Vinnies Warrnambool manager Kevin Bond said the shop had 66 volunteers, who were formally thanked every time they notched up another five years of service.

Mr Bond said he was constantly amazed by the volunteers’ dedication, loyalty and consistency.

“These people in their later years show enormous strength and resilience in what is often a tough environment,” he said.

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