Adelaide Hills retiree John Chambers has recently completed his 200 drive as an ‘Earth Angel’ transporting people living in the bush to vital medical care.
John who is based in Mount Barker, Adelaide Hills moved from Sydney to Adelaide when he retired back in 2002. At the time, John held a private pilots license and had been flying recreationally for 20 years.
His connection with Angel Flight began when he met fellow pilot, Owen Crees at Aldinga Aero Club. Owen is an Angel Flight pilot and current chair of the board and encouraged John to get involved in the charity which relies on volunteer pilots and drivers to transport people to medical appointment free of charge.
John’s personal aircraft was not in the general category of aeroplanes used by Angel Flight but keen to give back to the community, a value instilled by his mother, John applied to become a driver, also known as an Earth Angel.
“Influenced by my mother, I had always been a volunteer, starting as an 18-year-old in the Apex Young Men’s Service Club where I remained a member ‘till I was 40. I was keen to get involved in the cause and so I volunteered as an Earth Angel; a job which I adore and find hugely rewarding.”
“The best part is providing one-on-one assistance to someone in need.”
Having gained the necessary training, John also acts a guest speaker for Angel Flight and has spoken to 27 groups around Adelaide to date with more in the pipeline.
John says he loves spreading the word about what Angel Flight do as many people have the wrong idea about the operations of the organisation.
“I implore them to take their newfound knowledge and impart it to others,particularly those who live in remote or rural Australia.”
John says he strongly recommends anyone with the time, wherewithal and willingness to become an Angel Flight volunteer to help more people from remote and rural Australia access the medical care that would otherwise be unavailable due to time, distance and means.
John also assists within the Mount Barker municipal council who operates a Hills Community Transport system, via a fleet of about six cars, to transport elderly or mobility-limited people to medical appointments.
For the past 16 years John has also lead a group called the Romeos – Retired Old Men Eating Out. “The members of the group are, obviously, retired, but have no interest in sport and are not “handy” so don’t get involved in Men’s Sheds.”
John says that members have often recently lost a partner and are lonely and Romeos provides companionship with a group of likeminded men and meet monthly, visiting places of interest followed by a pub lunch.