There is plenty to celebrate about Busselton volunteer Innes Barker who was recently awarded for his contribution to the Geographe Community Landcare Nursery at this year’s Volunteer of the Year awards.
Mr Barker has been working at the nursery for more than fives years and is one of the most dedicated and passionate volunteers they have.
Mr Barker said he was thrilled to receive the award and be recognised for his contribution to the nursery.
The 55-year old volunteer lives with down syndrome, has a vision impairment and his speech is sometimes hard to understand, but it does not prevent Mr Barker from being a role model to others at the nursery.
Geographe Community Landcare Nursery assistant coordinator Peter Howe said Mr Barker trained other volunteers at the nursery.
“I have never seen a more dedicated or hard working person of any ability,” he said.
To overcome his sight challenges Mr Barker was allocated as the main person to potplant medium and larger sized pots which are sold to the public.
”Innes is aware that people do not always understand his special language and pronunciation, although he is willing to persevere and in time people get it or both parties work in with the conversation and general flow.
“He can write, draw, use his hands and his vocabulary and understanding far exceed his verbalising ability and pronunciation.”
On Thursday, Mr Barker’s friends and coworkers gathered at the nursery for a morning tea to celebrate his award.
Ant Pursell said the world would be better off with a lot more people like Mr Barker in it.
“Mr Barker is a nice man, he always helps and just gets on with it,” he said.
His mum Lottie said when Innes’ name was read out at the Volunteer of the Year award ceremony his eyes lit up.
“He was wrapped,” she said.
“His father would certainly have been proud of him if he had been here. I rang his brother when we got home, he said wonderful, so everyone was thrilled.”
Helping out at the nursery is not the only volunteering work Mr Barker participates in, he is also involved with disabled surfing, sailing and helps out at Cliff’s Kitchen.
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