Walter Rhodes is a member of the Whanganui Community Patrol; he drives for the Cancer Society, and is a long-time volunteer for local hockey, for which he has a bar licence.
As a result, the 80-year-old has been nominated for Volunteer of the Month and receives a certificate, a volunteer logo pin and a $40 voucher from Mud Ducks cafe, all of which were presented to him by Sandra Rickey, Volunteer Whanganui manager.
He says the he'll add the certificate to the wall where his bar licences hang.
For the Cancer Society, Walter drives patients to Palmerston North, or, if there's an emergency, he'll drive all the way to Wellington Hospital. In the Community Patrol, he's either walking the CBD or driving around the suburbs, being the eyes and ears of the police. The hockey volunteering started long ago.
It was in the 1960s when he was working at the Imlay freezing works in the wool department (fellmongery) and shifts meant he would start early in the morning and be finished by mid-afternoon. His mate, Doug Nevard, was a volunteer in charge of the local hockey grounds and he roped Walter in to help roll and mark the grounds ready for the weekend's matches. The volunteer crowd seemed to consist of meat workers. Since then, in fact 33 years ago, he got his bar manager's licence to help with extra duties at the hockey club. He was also a hockey player and stopped just a couple of years ago. He has played internationally and has stacked up medals from Masters Games.
Walter comes from Pakawau in Golden Bay, arriving in Whanganui after compulsory military training at Burnham.
"One of my school mates was up here working at the freezing works. In the off season he came home, and that was when he asked me to come up here." Walter joined him at Imlay for six months, got laid off at the end of the season, then the boss offered him permanent work. He was offered the foreman's job but turned it down because bosses weren't eligible for overtime.
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Walter has been retired since 2004. He has been with the Community Patrol for about eight years. His day is Thursday. It's his job to pick up the car from Wanganui Toyota. Coincidentally, Wanganui Toyota sponsors a car for Wanganui Hockey.
Walter has a special affinity with the Cancer Society.
"We lost our daughter to cancer 25 years ago. My wife, Noeleen, used to take her to Palmerston North Hospital every Monday." Since then, both Walter and Noeleen volunteer for the Cancer Society. That involves turning up and helping at events such as Relay for Life and Daffodil Day.
Walter also used to volunteer at the Masters Games but gave it away when the venue relocated from Sppringvale Park to the inner city.