BIG HELP: Peter Verbakel who is a volunteer in policing, with Kingaroy Constable Bethany Rogerson.
BIG HELP: Peter Verbakel who is a volunteer in policing, with Kingaroy Constable Bethany Rogerson. Matt Collins

Retiring at 38 meant Peter could give back to his community

WHAT would you do if you were able to retire before the age of 40?

For many people, retiring young conjures up thoughts of overseas holidays, starting a new hobby and meeting new friends.

But for Kingaroy resident Peter Verbakel, who retired at 38, he just wanted to give back to the community.

"I had a number of boxes that I needed to fill,” Mr Verbakel said.

"One was being out in the community, one was working with people and one was gaining technological knowledge.”

Mr Verbakel spent 15 years as an SES volunteer and has enjoyed 14 years as a volunteer in policing.

"The relationship between SES and police is a tight link, so that was logical way back then,” he said.

The passionate volunteer said no two days were ever the same.

"We'll prepare media stuff. We'll go to schools and help police with their talks and lectures,” Mr Verbakel said.

He said one of the more rewarding parts of the job was being able to get to know other people in the community.

"We look after the oldies if they're in trouble or have had a break-and-enter,” he said.

"We can be asked to go and do a security audit on their house and make them feel comfortable and that somebody cares.

"We'll sit there and have a cup of tea and a biscuit. That's a real rewarding part of the job.”

He said other parts could be a little more mundane.

"You are engraving bicycles and engraving people's property, but it is still an important thing,” Mr Verbakel said.

While many would be envious of the hard-working volunteer's life, Mr Verbakel said he had been through his share of tough times.

"Life's had its ups and downs, but who hasn't. Join the queue,” he said.

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