Young at heart

January 11, 2019

Don Fischle, 81, has served God for decades and has no intention of slowing down.



I was born into The Salvation Army—my parents and grandparents were all Salvos. I’m now 81, but I’ve had a sense of faith for as long as I can remember. 

I can still recall looking up into the sky one night when I was about 16 years old and feeling a new appreciation of the enormity of God. I was working on a tractor at about 1.30 am (I grew up on a crop farm) and for some reason the battery stopped and everything went dark. I looked up at the millions of beautiful, bright stars. 

As I walked home in the darkness along my fence line, trying to find my way home, I just kept thinking, ‘How big is God?’ 

Sixty-five years on, I still passionately serve God.

I married Olive, who I met at Albion (Qld) Salvation Army Corps (church), which later became part of Stafford Corps. Olive was a nurse and I built up a successful plant nursery business. We had two wonderful kids, Mark and Kirstine, and we were always active at church.

In 2004 Olive passed away. During this time, the care from my church ‘family’, as well as my family, kept me going. I was encouraged to keep caring for others by taking over organising the Over 50s group that Olive had been running.

After five years on my own, while playing in the Stafford Salvos band one day, my eyes met the eyes of Thelma, a retired Salvation Army officer who had returned to Stafford after many years in ministry. That was how it all began—we’ve been married for nine years now.

Service has always been part of my identity. I really love it—serving energises me.

We are committed to serving others, especially in pastoral care. We believe looking after the older members of our church is extremely important. Some have cancer, illnesses or have had surgery, some have had falls or deal with other hardships. We feel it is definitely a calling to visit and care for them.

We are also highly involved in young lives through a program I was integral in creating as a local businessman. The Worklink federally-funded program and associated school, Horizons College, is a special assistance school based in Caboolture, which is committed to helping young people struggling in mainstream education. The school is doing really, really well; one of our students was recently third top in the state. After years as the Worklink chair, I’ve passed the role to Thelma.

Service has always been part of my identity. I’ve been the organiser and pastoral carer for the Over 50s group for the past 15 years. I’m on the leadership team and organise a weekly fellowship breakfast at a local McDonald’s, and Thelma and I hold a monthly ‘Songs of Praise’. I also play in two Salvo bands and do a lot of maintenance and groundskeeping around the corps. I really love it—serving energises me.

We’re thankful to God for strength and good health and can’t see ourselves slowing down any time soon.

As told to Naomi Singlehurst


Tags: Salvation Army Australia

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Vol. 139, No. 14 // 11 April 2020

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