Peter Conaghan is someone who others would refer to as being ‘salt of the earth’ - a thoroughly decent person for whom helping others just comes naturally.
Peter has been a Vincentian* (or Vinnies volunteer) for 57 years. Raised in Rockhampton, Peter moved to Yeppoon 22 years ago and is currently Vice President of Sacred Heart Yeppoon Conference. In 2017 he was awarded the Livingstone Shire Council Citizen of the Year.
Peter says what he loves about Vinnies is the ability to provide hope to people who are struggling.
(As a volunteer) “If you come in to a Vinnies Support Centre and see three little kids who haven’t had anything to eat since yesterday and you give them a packet of Weetbix, some sugar, a bottle of milk, loaf of bread and some baked beans, you know when they walk out the door that they are going home to have something to eat,” he says.
“You can see the look on the kid’s faces, it makes all the difference. And one day in the future when they drive past a Vinnies shop they will tell their kids; when we were hungry Vinnies fed us.”
Peter said whether it’s helping out in the Yeppoon shop or conducting welfare work he has always enjoyed giving back to others since he was 18 years old.
“In Yeppoon, there’s real sense of community, we have a Conference of about 20 people, and we have a President, a fellow named Rick Williams, who is a really good guy.”
When asked what Vinnies means to him Peter said: “If you’ve got a problem come to me and we’ll talk about it over a cuppa and when you walk away you’ll think, I’ve got something out of that.”
Peter’s lifetime of service resulted in him being given the honour of carrying the Queen’s Baton in the relay prior to this year’s Commonwealth Games.
“Trish from the Council asked would you be interested in doing it and I said, is the Pope Catholic? ….I’d love to.”
“My work is at the grassroots level, helping people who need help, just like kids who walk out with a bit of food, that is my cup of tea and that’s what Vinnies is about.”
For a full copy of Making a Difference - Spring 2018 please click here
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