16042013_NVW2013_facebook_headshot_NoelIt takes a special kind of person to voluntarily get up at 5.30am and drive a diabetic colleague from Seaford to the Alfred Hospital for a blood test before 8am.

For Frankston retiree Noel Brown (pictured), it’s just another day providing crucial services to people who call on the goodwill of the Victorian AIDS Council/Gay Men’s Health Centre (VAC/GMHC).

“I don’t mind at all,” he said, adding that he then drove his Seaford companion to the Dandenong Pancake Parlour for a support group lunch.

“It was a great day for him.

“I really feel good at the end of the day, I feel like I’ve achieved something.”

It doesn’t end there though, he recounted delivering food parcels to people in need last Tuesday, covering 121km in five hours.

Brown is a volunteer driver for the Positive Living Centre – on call to drive clients to medical appointments and social outings.

He also spends his Wednesday nights fronting the reception desk at the Peter Knight Centre, the home of the VAC/GMHC.

He could be answering calls, welcoming guests or doing any other admin jobs that comes with the volunteer based position.

Brown had seen first hand the benefits of VAC/GMHC which inspired him to lend a helping hand.

Before starting at VAC in 2008, Brown had a boarder stay with him who was attending counselling sessions at the Peter Knight Centre.

“I saw what a great job they did for him so when he finished there I decided I’d go and volunteer with them.”

He was also volunteering at an aged care facility on a weekly basis and had wanted to fill in the extra time he had.

“I find most of the volunteer stuff relaxing and really good. It’s great the companionship and company you get out of it,” he said.

“We’re there because we care.”

He said the team at VAC/GMHC were very grateful for the work of volunteers, adding many clients would be lost if it were not for volunteers who chipped each week.

National Volunteer Week runs May 13-19, wrapping up this Sunday. Brown is just one of more than six million people who volunteer annually in Australia.

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