After six years in Australia – during which he has had to navigate soaring temperatures, goat farms and ant bites – HOPE team member Sam Doran has found his home in the red dirt.
Sam Doran recently stepped into the role of Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Manager for the Pilbara Community Alcohol and Drug Service (PCADS), however he has worked all over the State since arriving from the UK.
His first stop in March 2018 was at our Hope Springs Therapeutic Community, a residential rehabilitation facility that supports AOD recovery.
Sam spent 18 months working with residents, providing support and encouragement to the residents seeking to make lasting changes to their lives.
He fell in love with Western Australia and was determined to stay. Securing that visa extension came with a requirement from the Department of Home Affairs – three months of working in one of the specified industries out in regional Australia.
Always up for something new, Sam completed his three months on a goat farm, which he still rates as an enjoyable and valuable life experience.
Rising to the challenge
Sam returned to HOPE after 3 months, and took a role in Leonora. Out here he began building our Drug and Alcohol Treatment Services (DATS).
Despite being the only HOPE team member in that location, his determination to deliver an excellent that made a different to people was clear. Undeterred by the remoteness, Sam’s biggest challenge was the intense heat of the northern Goldfields.
“We could go 2 or 3 days without power due to the heat and this was very challenging at times,” he recalls. “The cold tap water would come out boiling when it was around 45 degrees [outside].”
His dedication to his remote community – and others ‘nearby’ – led him to become a volunteer emergency medical technician (EMT) with St John’s Ambulance. Eventually he became the vice president of the local St Johns sub-centre.
“I would sometimes be driving up to 5 hours with lights and sirens on, out to remote communities in the middle of the night,” he says.
After going above and beyond for his community during the early months of the Covid-19 pandemic, Sam was nominated for – and won – the Australian Health Care Worker of the Year in 2020.
From Goldfields to Pilbara
He has since had several roles at HOPE, working within our Goldfields Community Alcohol and Drug Service (GCADS), and was heavily involved in the tender for, and establishment of, PCADS.
Following the news HOPE had successfully secured the tender to deliver PCADS, Sam relocated from the Goldfields to the Pilbara for 8 months – taking new challenges in his stride as he went.
“There was navigating the local housing crisis, drinking plenty of water to cope with the intense climate and of course spending hours with a screwdriver setting up [PCADS office] furniture,” he lists.
Another stint with the Goldfields North team followed, during which time Sam officially became a permanent resident of Australia. It was a memorable day, with the entire team celebrating the very welcome news.
A home in the red dirt
His journey through WA has been marked by many challenges – including one memorable camping trip where he inadvertently rested on an ants’ nest and ended up covered in ant bites. It’s a story the locals still enjoy telling.
But the best part of his journey through WA has been the strong connections he forged with the communities.
“In Leonora, we faced so many challenges during Covid-19. We endured prolonged lockdowns in isolated regions, which was difficult for me with my family in the UK. I couldn’t travel out of the region, let alone the country,” he recalls.
“The Elders in Leonora would come round to check on me and invite me out bush. Their support, and the support of the community, left me feeling like I had a place and a home in the red dirt.”
Sam Doran, you are a remarkable Human of HOPE. Your diligence, collaboration, courage and eternal optimism are everything we value in our team members.
Hope Community Services provides alcohol and other drug support and services for individuals, families and communities throughout WA.