When I heard Reg Lambert was leaving Mandurah I felt for those many homeless people who wouldn’t be sharing the warmth of his company.
We all know the story of the 93-year-old who spends his evenings talking to men and women who have found themselves sleeping rough.
Reg was acknowledged for his work with an Australian of the Year nomination.
But if you’ve met Reg, you would know he isn’t motivated by awards or fame or money or even the news stories that appear about him from time to time.
When I heard he was heading north to help people struggling with addiction, I asked him if he would let me interview him about this new challenge.
He agreed, but there was a condition. He didn’t want any story to be just about him. Reg said he wanted me to also write about the people he was trying to help.
But there was something more that Reg let slip while I was talking to him, something that made me feel easier about losing him to the North West.
It was the lessons that a bloke like Reg can teach us.
He is motivated for all the right reasons and because of that there is a humility we can all learn from.
Does someone need our help? Well, let’s just help them. We don’t need an invitation, we don’t need a marketing strategy, we don’t need a government grant.
We just need to get out there.
As I was talking to Reg under the Serpentine River’s Pinjarra Road bridge a young homeless bloke came up to us and said g’day to Reg.
“This fella’s a legend, you know,” the young man said to me. Reg shrugged off the compliment.
Afterwards Reg said: “What does he need? He needs someone to talk to. I only met him once and he knew my name this morning.”
I hope there will be an army of people like Reg Lambert coming up behind him.
People who are willing to make themselves available to those who need help.
People who will put themselves out to our community’s most vulnerable with a kind word and a helping hand.
Because Mandurah, in fact everywhere, needs many more people like Reg.
Everyone at the Mandurah Mail, especially those reporters who have known him, wish Reg the best of luck writing his next chapter.