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Age no barrier for volunteer’s unique friendship

Morgan Miles volunteered for In Great Company because he wanted to make a positive impact on a senior’s life.

Little did the 28-year-old know it was his life that was about to receive an enormous boost.

“I can assure you it’s not just me helping him,” Morgan said of the bond he has formed with Alan Hill, the 89-year-old he met through Feros Care’s volunteer program, In Great Company, that connects people in need of support and social connection with caring, friendly and enthusiastic volunteers. 

“Getting to know Alan has added so much to my life. I’ve faced a few challenges in recent times and his positivity continually reminds me that everyone faces hurdles and you can be bitter or just roll with it. Alan’s had a lot of trauma over the years but he just keeps on trying to be a great guy.

“There may be an age difference of 60 years between us but I don’t see him as anything other than a friend. When we’re together, it’s just two mates cruising around and keeping each other busy.”

Having served in the defence force for seven years, Morgan’s world was shattered three years ago when he was forced to medically retire.

Living in Northern New South Wales and unable to participate in full-time work, his fiancée pointed him in the direction of In Great Company and its wide-ranging volunteer opportunities from helping with small tasks around a senior’s home to visiting Feros Care residential villages.

Morgan liked the sound of being paired with a senior yearning social company – and that’s when Alan entered his life.

“They were initially going to match me with someone from a military background but it ended up being Alan and I couldn’t be happier,” he said.

The perfect match

“My first visit was at his place at Banora Point Retirement Village but we ended up going for a coffee and chewing the fat for two and a half hours. I remember going home and telling my partner ‘He’s a great bloke and I can’t wait to get to know him more’.

“We’ve been mates for almost six months now. I’ll phone him a couple of times a week and pick him up every Thursday for an outing. Alan gave up his licence because his eyesight isn’t the best but he loves his drives so I’ll take him up the ranges and into the country.

“One day I picked him up at 8am to visit one of his mates down south and we didn’t get back until 4.30pm. He ended up having a little kip on the way home because I had tired him out (laughs).

“We talk about everything and anything – previous loves, his old jobs, where he grew up. He’s definitely been around the traps.”

Flexible volunteering

Along with getting to know Alan, one of the joys of In Great Company for Morgan has been the flexibility it affords him.

“As a volunteer, it’s simply a matter of how much time and energy I’m able to throw at it,” he said.

“I would like to get back to full-time work but volunteering allows me to step back if my health deteriorates and I need to check myself. It’s great to be involved with something as important as In Great Company but Alan understands if I can’t make it one week.”

Not that he plans on missing many of their catch-ups.

“I care for Alan greatly and meeting him is definitely something that has benefited me and given me a purpose,” Morgan said.

“I think he worries about me dropping off (our visits) but I’ve told him I’m always going to be there. Life will get busy and I’m planning to start a family one day but I’ve assured him he’ll always be part of my life.”

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Young man and senior man fishing

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