Strangers turn up to help elderly woman with garden
GLADYS O'Brien has a fractured back and can't tend the garden she has been nurturing for 51 years.
"My husband built this house, and we've been in it since 1953," the 87-year-old said.
"Gardening is my lifelong passion, but I just don't have the strength to do it now."
Two years ago she twisted her back, and it was enough to fracture her vertebrae.
"I didn't start walking until I was six years old, and always struggled with my bones," Mrs O'Brien said.
"I've been getting better and got back in the garden, but then I got breast cancer and that was it."
And as she watched the weeds grow she started getting upset.
"I was beginning to get really sad that my lifelong passion was going to ruins, but then suddenly Dale knocked on my door," she said.
Dale Lucy noticed Mrs O'Brien trying to trim a hedge last Saturday and so he dropped in to see if he could help.
"It was a hot afternoon and she was getting nowhere, so I wanted to give her a hand," he said.
"When she said yes, I put a call out on social media and over 40 people said they were keen."
Mr Lucy and 13 other strangers showed up at Mrs O'Brien's house on Sunday morning armed with big hearts and a pile of gardening tools.
"I couldn't believe the response," he said.
"With so many people it only took an hour to trim the hedges, do the weeding and sugar mulch everything.
"She told us what she wanted done and a group of strangers got together and helped her out."
The deed brought Mrs O'Brien close to tears.
"It's so beautiful and I can't thank Dale enough," she said.
"Next time he comes around I'll make sure I have some morning tea ready to say thank you."
More help is at hand
DOING handyman jobs for strangers is all in a day's work for Joff Carlos.
"I wake up on a high every morning waiting to see what I can do for other people," he said.
"There are so many people who need something simple done, and it stresses them out they can't do it."
When the single dad found himself unemployed he starting helping older people carry their groceries at the supermarket.
"I quickly realised that they were struggling more than I was, so I started doing odd jobs where I could," he said.
"It gave me such a buzz that I could give something back that I decided to spread the word and start a group to get more people involved."
Eight months later, more than 300 community volunteers from Gladstone have joined the group, Assets to Society.
He said if anyone needs help, or knows of someone who does, just call.
"The satisfaction we get out of helping, is worth the world to us, so please don't be afraid to ask."
Call 0455 999 430 or send a Facebook friend request.