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All service is beautiful

11 June 2014

All service is beautiful

“We are pensioners, which gives us tremendous freedom to answer a call for service – at scenes of cyclones such as ‘Larry’ in the Atherton tablelands, and through fires and floods.” – Owen Pattison

To date, between spending time with children and grandchildren, Salvation Army Major Owen Pattison, with his wife Captain Pam Pattison both aged in their 70s, have served in 15 different appointments (a number of them long-term) since their ‘retirement’, including service in a range of front-line disaster zones.

Their only true attempt at retirement lasted for a few “glorious summer’s days” in 2009, according to Owen, in what was the start of what was to be a holiday around half of Australia.

That night in 2009, when the couple turned on the news, they were stunned by reports of the ‘Black Saturday’ bushfires unfolding in Victoria, so Owen and Pam immediately abandoned their holiday plans, headed for Victoria and worked tirelessly for 16 weeks in the fire zone.

In 2003, following floods in Bundaberg, the couple served in an emergency volunteer role, then ran the local Corps (church) while officers took leave. They say the resilience of the Bundaberg flood survivors inspires them.

Owen says: “After the floods, one couple was living in their garage. There was mud everywhere. The husband just out of hospital and the wife was in a borrowed wheelchair trying to make the most of a very difficult situation. “Many would present a very brave face, but when we offered help, the tears would begin to flow freely.”

Pam adds: “We truly feel privileged to serve our precious Lord and Saviour ‘All service is beautiful’ was a favourite saying of my mother, and serving truly is beautiful.”

Photo caption: The Pattisons have continued to serve selflessly since their ‘retirement’.

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The Salvation Army acknowledges the Traditional Owners of country throughout Australia and recognises their continuing connection to land, waters and community. We pay our respects to them and their cultures; and to elders both past and present.

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