BEING thrust in the spotlight is not Dave Sams’ idea of a good time.
So Mr Sams was not enthusiastic when friend Elizabeth Schiemer said she wanted to enter him into the BBC’s Outlook segment, which was looking for inspirational stories from around the world.
“I didn’t think it would go anywhere,” Mr Sams said.
“I did it. But it was more to inspire people to volunteer. It’s good to volunteer for things. We don’t do enough of it.”
To celebrate its 50th birthday, the UK broadcast organisation’s Outlook program featured 50 stories from people that have shown courage and inspiration.
Twenty years ago Mr Sams helped start the not-for-profit Salamander Recycling Centre.
He still works at the centre, and is a Landcare volunteer, despite having to walk with two crutches due to the hereditary spastic paraparesis that affects his legs.
“I’m still active,” Mr Sams can be heard saying in his Outlook segment about the condition. “I can still use a shovel, rake and drive.”
The Outlook segment also focuses on Mr Sams’ contributions to Port Stephens Suicide Prevention Network.
The Boat Harbour resident joined the network after his son, Robert, took his life in 2003.
The heartbreaking loss of his son steered Mr Sams in a new direction – to help others who have lost ones to suicide.
He helped create Solace Place, opened at Boat Harbour in 2014, for those seeking a quiet place for reflection.
It is now the location for the network’s annual Walk With Us event, which this year will be held on September 10.
Mr Sams is also a founder of Port Stephens Survivors of Suicide (SOS), which deals with issues after suicide.
“Despite the degenerating disease that affects his lower body [Dave’s] creative mind, willingness to work hard, uncritical demeanour and sense of humour inspires and motivates,” Ms Schiemer said on why she nominated Mr Sams.
“Dave is responsible for improved environments, safer walking paths and community garden seats.
“Dave laughs about walking sticks wearing out.”
Mr Sams has a chance to be flown to the UK if his Outlook story is judged as the most inspirational.