Ron Micallef, Kiama NSW
From a key-stealing crow, a serenading local and volunteers who give up their Christmas Day every year to save lives, volunteering at the Kiama Driver Reviver site is a long way from Ron Micallef’s electronics career.
Now retired Ron, 75, took over management of the site from Bobby and Chris English in 2021, although he had already been involved in the program about four years.
Chris sadly died in 2021, but Bobby continues to run the site each Christmas Day, sometimes with help from family, friends and her grandchildren.
Ron got involved as a social outlet as well as to do good for the community through an organisation that raised money for cancer care.
These days, the Lions trailer that had to be dragged to and from the site on Driver Reviver days has been replaced by a permanent container, and electronic signs guide motorists to the site.
Cans and bottles are collected from caravan parks and local clubs and recycled to raise funds for the Lions Club and motorists also show appreciation by leaving money in the donation box.
The first Driver Reviver site heading south from Sydney before Nowra, Kiama is renowned for its quirk. For a while there was a resident crow, for example, that had a habit of picking up car keys left on tables and moving them somewhere else.
“Eventually I think somebody had to do something about this crow because when you had children walking around in thongs, their toes looked like something edible.”
The local who serenades visitors with a song accompanied by the balalaika remains an attraction.
“We thoroughly enjoy the camaraderie and communication with the public,” Ron says.
“We've got so many international people coming through who've never seen this before – they're familiar with Lions but they don’t have anything like Driver Reviver.”
Volunteers take pride in their public service, offering travellers a break, tea or coffee and biscuits while promoting road safety, Ron says.
“We've got a dangerous area just beyond our Driver Reviver site, where there's some bends and they’ve had a lot of bad accidents.
Luckily since we've been here that hasn't happened, so hopefully it's got something to do with us.”
Ron plans to trial opening the site regular Saturdays and Sundays during the warmer weather too.