62 years of being a volunteer
Alan Pine is a stayer. He’s been with St John for 62 years and he is the latest person to be recognised in The Weekend Sun’s series on volunteers.
He was made a Knight of Grace – St John’s highest honour in 1998 and one thing has remained consistent all these years – he has done it all as a volunteer.
He joined St John as a cadet in Auckland on June 1, 1955 and has been with the organisation ever since.
“I started in the youth programme and in many ways it’s not changed. The main aim with the cadets, same with Scouts and other like organisations, is to gain the Queens badge and in our case it’s the Grand Prior badge. That is the highest award for a cadet and it still is. The whole idea is to produce good citizens at the end of their time in cadets.”
He was convinced by a neighbour head along to the cadets. Once he became too old for the cadets, he managed a number of youth cadet divisions between Auckland and Tauranga – He shifted a few times for his work in the insurance industry. He was training the youth and was getting them into competitions, also winning a few trophies here and there.
He continued doing that until 1976, when he was then asked to become a training officer. He did that for five years before moving back to Auckland for his job. After a couple of years of being in Auckland he took on the role of District Officer of Cadets where he was in charge of all the youth members in the northern region. He was in that role for four years until he decided it was time for someone else to do that role and he became responsible for a pool of officers on transfer into the northern region.
That was until 1990, when he was asked to go back and be in charge of all the adults in the brigade side.
“The brigade as it was then was quite distinct from the association which ran the ambulance service, so the brigade was all the volunteers of all divisions, the people out on the football fields and attended all the public events.”
He says he got that role just in time to take on the responsibility of providing the volunteer medical cover for the Commonwealth Games in Auckland. He took three weeks off work and was flat out organising about 135 volunteer personelle that they got in for the games.
Alan says being a part of St John is a good pastime even if you’ve got full time work.
“If you’ve got time for it as a hobby or a change to help give you some balance to your life which is really what it’s all about. But having said that you’ve got to measure that up with your family life as well cause if you get that wrong you get yourself into a bit of strife, especially if your partner isn’t fully on-board.”
Alan’s is now a health shuttle driver in the Tauranga area. He also belongs to the Area Committee which looks after the operational side and things like buildings, ambulances and fundraising.
As a health shuttle driver, Alan takes clients from their residents whether it be home, rest home or hospital to medical appointments and then taking them home again.