Photo of Mark Hanley with his City of Ryde National Volunteers Week award

Vale Mark Hanley

2015 Special Commendation Award: Mark Hanley

Mark Hanley has served the Royal Rehabilitation Centre as a volunteer chaplain for the past 40 years, providing pastoral care to residents with severe disabilities.

His ongoing and reliable support ensures that residents who have no family have committed, regular visits, alternatively, allowing family members some respite time if needed.

His compassion and practical hands-on assistance help alleviate a sense of isolation many residents feel, providing them meaningful engagement with someone from the community who will always listen, encourage and discuss life’s challenges.

The residents, families, carers and staff of Royal Rehab appreciate Mark’s commitment and are grateful beyond words for the work he does.

The role of a Chaplain/Pastoral visitors at the Royal Rehab is described as “providing care by contributing to a supportive atmosphere, conducive to spiritual, emotional and physical healing”, but Mark’s unique capacity to connect with people and be non-judgemental whatever the circumstance, makes him more like ‘extended family’, an educator, counsellor and friend.

Mark is described as the “go-to” person when someone is needed to step in and assist or relieve another team member.

When asked what he gets from his vocation, Mark replies: “I get a lot more out of it than I put in”.
Then adds that he feels a sense of privilege, a better understanding of people, a deep level of satisfaction in providing support to those who lack a voice and that volunteering gives him hope for the future and gratitude for the present.

The above is an excerpt from the City of Ryde Volunteer Recognition Awards.