Credit where credit is due: Daniel Van Gelder

Alex Perkins (left) with care worker Daniel Van Gelder

Carrying groceries 2kms through thick mud is all part of the job for HammondCare At Home care worker Daniel, who supports retired farmer Alex Perkins, recently cut off from the outside world on his property at Gungal in the Upper Hunter (NSW).

On several occasions, 30-year-old Daniel drove as far as his car would allow in the quagmire conditions before carrying the groceries by foot for 2km to care for his client.

Mr Perkins, 80, was so delighted by Daniel going to such lengths to ensure he, and his much-loved dog Jenna had food on the 141-hectare cattle property he sent a message of appreciation to HammondCare At Home.

“He always gives 110 per cent!”

Mr Perkins said of Daniel

“I rely on him for a fair bit. I can’t bend over. I can’t get out of my chair much these days.”

“Daniel doesn’t complain about anything. He picks up my groceries, dog food, and medications and keeps me going.”

As well as bringing supplies, Daniel’s regular visits as a HammondCare At Home care worker involve providing basic care, including vacuuming, washing and general tidying up.

Sometimes he drives Mr Perkins to appointments with his doctor, chiropractor, or podiatrist.

For his efforts, Daniel was recognised with a HammondCare Mission in Action Award from HammondCare Chief Executive Mike Baird at a ceremony at Hammond Care’s Strathearn House, Scone on November 22.

Mr Baird said of Daniel: “He literally went the extra mile for our clients.”

“Thank you, Daniel, for going above and beyond that day and many others. Your clients know how much you care for them, and we appreciate all that you do.”

For Daniel, the award was appreciated but he was modestly not convinced that anything exceptional took place.

“It’s just something I didn’t think much about really. It just needed to be done or Alex wouldn’t get his shopping,” Daniel said

HammondCare At Home provides care in the home to people in regional and remote places, with 672 clients in this category in NSW, Queensland and Victoria.

Mr Perkins was in good health until shortly before COVID when he had a fall. He slipped on the pavement outside a local supermarket, breaking his leg and smashing his ankle.

The stumble led to a seven-week stay in Muswellbrook Hospital following surgery where steel bolts and a plate were implanted. He never fully recovered his full mobility.

“Only a few years ago I was quite good with the cattle and everything like that, getting around the paddocks. That’s all changed now,” Mr Perkins said.

“Now I can tell you the things that are right about me quicker than the things that are not going so well.”

Mr Perkin’s granddaughter Kursty said his closest family live two hours away and knowing there was a care worker like Daniel providing regular support was reassuring.

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