Kind, hardworking and generous to a fault, Bruce Morrison is something of a local legend in Castlemaine and Middleton. The 63-year-old is well-known for his volunteer work in the community, working to rehabilitate prisoners alongside his volunteer work with a number of disability services in his area.
Bruce is a wheelchair user himself, but claims that this hasn’t slowed him down in any areas of his life at all: one look at his impressive volunteering resume leaves no doubt about that. Some people seem destined to spend their lives helping people, and Bruce sums up this calling in his typically straightforward style: “I have a disability and overcame it. I felt I had a gift, and that I could help others overcome their disability”.
But it hasn’t always been easy. Before his paraplegia Bruce had a very active life; serving in the military, riding his beloved motorcycles and working in a very hands-on job. When his life changed forever he struggled at first to cope with the change in circumstances, angry at the disability that turned his life upside down. Eventually, a change in outlook came with a change in mindset – Bruce felt that by overcoming the challenges of his disability he could help others do the same.
He set about reinventing his life, achieving a diploma in business management and human resources, and training to become a food supervisor. Moving to the volunteer arena, Bruce became involved in a number of prison programs aimed at rehabilitation. He facilitated the “Change on the Inside” program, which teaches positive behavioural techniques as well as running an art therapy program for prisoners. He also taught inmates to make soft toys for children as a therapeutic exercise, something that is foreign to them.
In addition to his valuable prison work Bruce also spends a lot of time volunteering for a number of disability services in his area, including recreational centres and schools. Part of his role is to teach disabled people to operate computers, a vital lifeline for connection in the digital age. He has also taught a Certificate IV in Disability Work at TAFE, the first person with a disability to teach that subject.
But it’s not all about work. In his spare time Bruce loves swimming, and while he is unable to do freestyle or breaststroke he enjoys doing laps in backstroke. And when asked which achievement he is most proud of, Bruce is characteristically humble: “Helping to train prisoners who might be violent, seeing the change from someone who might not have been nice and to the end of it having them be social and have changed for the better”.
It’s speaks to the generosity of character that his greatest achievement is helping people in need. For Bruce, life is all about what he can give to others. As one of our many valued clients, the team at Active Rehab couldn’t be prouder of Bruce, and we’re long-time admirers of his dedication to helping people with disabilities. We both share the same passion to make a difference.