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Group 3

A Green Thumb and A Golden Heart

At the heart of GV Health’s volunteer program is Pablo Gonzales — the dedicated gardener, a true friend, and a compassionate healer.
With a passion for the earth and a strong sense of community spirit, the Colombian native demonstrates what it means to be a volunteer.
“I started volunteering 20 years ago in Western Australia when I entered a new life.
“After this, I never asked for money, I never looked for money — I only worked with my heart,” he said.
The ‘new chapter’ Pablo referred to marked his triumph over thyroid cancer and his journey toward healing from the profound grief following the tragic loss of his 22-year-old son.
“After I lost my son came the cancer, and then I almost lost my family,
“And that’s when I thought, ‘I need to start again.’
“I was always looking for happiness and when I began volunteering — I found that happiness,” he said.
Pablo spends most of his time volunteering at GV Health’s Gruztner House and has made a name for himself as “the man who has transformed the garden to greatness’’.
His green thumb and nurturing spirit have not only brightened the exterior of Grutzner House, but also livened up the atmosphere within the walls of the facility.
“Pablo has done fantastic work with the gardens at GV Health’s Grutzner House,” GV Health volunteer coordinator Karen Saccuzzo said.
“He came to us with an interest in gardening, but we saw how great he was with the residents.
“And now he has made it an activity for them to come out and assist him with the gardening, or he will simply sit and talk to them inside, and it brightens their day.”
Not only does Pablo volunteer at GV Health as a way to improve his English speaking skills, but he also said he liked to volunteer as an opportunity to connect with the land, and its people.
“When you are in touch with the soil directly, you are in connection with the motherland.
“When I touch a tree, I am in connection with the universe — and when I speak to the residents [at Grutzner House] I am connected to their spirit,” he said.
Pablo’s story illustrates the power of volunteering, turning personal challenges into a source of happiness — creating a legacy of compassion at GV Health.
If you are interested in volunteering at GV Health’s Shepparton/Tatura or Waranga campuses and would like more information, contact Karen Saccuzzo on 0428 898 231 or via email