Dave’s family moved to the Port Stephens area when he was 10 and he has been there ever since. He is both a busy and a modest man, so this profile had to be written about him rather than by him.
Dave has always loved hard work. As a younger man he got experience in many jobs – as a handyman, labourer and even a stint working on movies. Running and baseball were his favourite pastimes. Dave started to notice HSP symptoms in his mid-30s and they have now progressed to where he gets around on two sticks. So you would expect that that would slow him up… right?
It may have slowed him down physically a bit, he can’t push a wheelbarrow anymore and wishes he could, but he has an unquenchable spirit and a tireless drive to make things better for the community he lives in. Dave kicked off a recycling centre 20 years ago, which has grown over the years and is going strong. He is a very active member of two Landcare groups and loves getting his hands dirty, down on the ground and planting trees.
Dave and his wife Sue lost a son, Robert, in 2003. The heartbreaking loss steered Dave in a new direction. He joined the Port Stephens Suicide Prevention Network to help others who have lost loved ones to suicide. He helped create Solace Place, opened at Boat Harbour in 2014, for those seeking a quiet place for reflection. It is now the location for the network’s annual Walk With Us event.
Dave is also a founder of Port Stephens Survivors of Suicide (SOS), which deals with issues after suicide. He is also involved with a community drug and alcohol program that addresses those and related problems. Finally, he is also a member of a local Youth Community Association – just to make sure he never has a spare moment!
Dave lives a life of service to others and feels that contributing in different ways is its own reward. About his HSP, Dave says “it made me a better person”. Dave is a man of few words, but he chooses them fairly well and it says a lot about him, and about his approach to life when, of the million responses he could have given to the question “so what about your HSP?” he simply responds “it made me a better person”.
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