Hangar Op Shop's Dorothy Head typifies volunteer dedication

At five in the morning Dorothy Head is up and out of bed, reading the paper over breakfast.

Volunteers: Marie Lawrence and Dorothy Head stand behind the counter at the Hangar Op Shop in Murray Bridge. Photo: Peri Strathearn.

Volunteers: Marie Lawrence and Dorothy Head stand behind the counter at the Hangar Op Shop in Murray Bridge. Photo: Peri Strathearn.

On Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays she makes her way down Fifth Street, Murray Bridge, unlocks a door and helps shift a few racks of clothes and shelves of crockery and books onto the footpath, something to get the attention of passers-by.

Then she settles down behind the front counter of the Hangar Op Shop, ready for an easy-going chat with whoever might wander in that day.

It has been a bit quieter in the past couple of weeks, since Wal's Bakery around the corner closed its doors, so the usual lunchtime rush is not what it was.

But at about 11am on this particular Wednesday, there are still half a dozen people elbowing their way through the shop, with Marie Lawrence helping them find whatever they might need and Dorothy adding up in a notebook at the counter.

"I'm into the 27th year of volunteering," she says.

"I do it because I love it, no other reason ... the people, and finding gear.

"We do buy in some, and I go to garage sales, things like that, which is always exciting.

"A lot of kitchen gear sells quickly."

While we talk, customers come and go, buying books, women's clothing, a muffin tray, a cooling rack.

In between snatches of conversation there are bags of recent acquisitions and donations to sort through.

"That's our little corner there," she says, pointing to a pile of bags more than a metre high.

I do it because I love it, no other reason.

Dorothy Head

"This has come in this morning, all up around here."

The donations have kept coming to aid a number of causes the shop has supported over the years: homeless youth, then blind welfare and, for the past 15 years or so, the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

"We took a holiday and realised the vastness of Australia and the work that they do," she said.

"We just sort of thought 'that's something special'."

They have been fortunate not to have too much junk dumped outside their door, unlike some other opportunity shops in Murray Bridge in the past little while.

But the Flying Doctors can count themselves fortunate, as well, that volunteers like Dorothy are willing to give up three days a week to help a worthy cause.

This story Thrice weekly for 27 years first appeared on The Murray Valley Standard.