4 July, 2019

The first year anniversary for the ADRA Op Shop in Chinchilla has been bitter-sweet.

As the Op Shop volunteers celebrated one year of offering help to the local community on 26 June 2019, they were missing a very important volunteer who has been instrumental in the start-up and success of the ADRA Op Shop – Paul Anderson. Sadly, ADRA and the community in Chinchilla lost Paul to an ongoing illness just a few days before on June 22.

The Chinchilla Op Shop is one of many legacies that Paul has left behind. Together with his wife, Yvonne, they have invested hours to ensure the Op Shop is making the most meaningful impact in the local community. With a wealth of experience from working in op shops previously, Yvonne and Paul were eager to help the manager, Dom Chiappalone, start up the Chinchilla Op Shop.

“They are just absolutely fabulous,” says Dom. “Paul would take home a box of shabby brassware and he’d bring it back the next day and it would be shining and beautiful.”

Left to right: Paul, Yvonne, and Dom

With his experience working for op shops previously and a knack for advertising, Paul became Dom’s go-to ‘right-hand man’. “Paul handled all the social media and did up all of our flyers for sales,” Dom says. And, three days before he went to hospital, he pitched an article to Chinchilla News to celebrate the Op Shop’s first year of business.

In his article, which was published posthumously, Paul’s reflections on the Op Shop’s first year give a glimpse into his heart for service: “During this time we have been fortunate enough to help many members of our community through troubled times. We have been well accepted within this community, for which we are most grateful. We look forward to continuing to serve the district for years to come.”

Paul (far right) invested hours of volunteer time into the Op Shop

Paul (far right) invested hours of volunteer time into the Op Shop

Paul’s passion for the community and his terrific sense of humour will be greatly missed by all who visit the Chinchilla Op Shop, but especially by those he volunteered with.

“He was a very energetic man,” says Christine Salmond, a fellow volunteer. “He was very much into helping out here.”

“Paul was dedicated,” says Dom. “He was just a good honest person who liked helping the community. He saw a golden opportunity here.”

On June 30, the big end-of-first-year sale that Paul helped to organise and promote, was a huge success.

Paul’s memorial service was held on Friday June 28. Yvonne is still serving her community by volunteering at the Op Shop every day.