Ron K Dean is an individual who everyone would see in Victor Harbor, but would not know his name.
Every Wednesday, he sits outside the Wespac building in a Salvation Army uniform and most would stop to drop a coin in his money box and be greeted with a “thanks very much, God bless you”.
That is Ron K Dean, a man who volunteers his time to help others less fortunate.
Ron has lived in Victor Harbor for the past 15 years and has received life membership for his volunteer work with Meals on Wheels and been part of the Salvation Army for more than 60 years.
“I started with the Salvation Army in 1957 in Millicent, against my parents wishes but I had to do something to get off the alcohol. I was drinking at 14 and was drunk every weekend,” he said.
“It was bad and I had to do something better with my life… the Salvation Army was my saviour.”
At 15, Ron took the extraordinary step to join the Salvation Army and it was unusual for someone to join the organisation at such a young age.
“The Salvation Army saved my life… they turned it right around and I became a trained officer for 15 years and I think, became exceptionally popular in the organisation,” he said.
For the past 10 years, Ron has been part of the Ocean Street landscape collecting for the Salvation Army, the organisation he loves.
“I would have raised thousands of dollars, which all go to Salvation Army community service here in Victor Harbor. I am very proud of what I have achieved.”
Ron is also very proud of his family of four daughters, one son, 13 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
“They all visit me, as I now reside at Estia Health on Bay Road. They put a smile on my face well and truly,” he said.
He also volunteers his time at Cafe Crozier every fortnight, which provides meals for those in need.
“City of Victor Harbor mayor Graham Philp and his wife Carol are big supporters of the Salvation Army and assist at Cafe Crozier and it is something very important in our community. It is helping others,” he said.
With Meals on Wheels, Ron is the jockey and believes the community service is more than just delivering a meal.
“I go out with the driver and we deliver 14 to 15 meals a day and it is more than just a meal for some of the people we take meals to. For some it is the only contact they have with someone so we make sure they are okay, as well as give them a feed, a delicious three course meal,” Ron said.
“I will do it for as long as I live. I will die with my boots on. This is my life and means so much to me.”