Shaun Hourigan is employed by Followmont Transport as the Company’s Credit Control Manager, however in his ‘spare’ time, Shaun can be found donating his time and energy to good causes and people in need.
Shaun began his philanthropic activities by donating blood for the first time at the age of 18. Since then Shaun continues to donate blood and now makes plasma donations every fortnight! So far he has made 431 donations and plans to continue giving!
Shaun’s first venture into volunteer work was in 1994 when he began coaching just after he stopped playing rugby union. Shaun says ‘I played football since I was 6 up until I was 30. When I couldn’t play anymore, I wanted to pass my skills and knowledge on, and I wanted to help the club and the kids coming through.’
When asked what Shaun remembers about his first time volunteering he recalls ‘I wasn’t very good at coaching when I started. It was hard coming from playing at a high level and trying to explain what was natural to me to these kids that were straight out of school and had never received any proper coaching.’ To improve his abilities Shaun took coaching courses as well as spoke to a lot of people to get different perspectives; he applied his learning and created his own techniques. Shaun says ‘It all started to click into place when I realised it isn’t about me, it’s about them. Once you learn that it makes it easier.’
8 years ago Shaun’s kids wanted to join ‘Nippers’ but he was hesitant because he wanted to keep his summers free. Begrudgingly Shaun agreed to be there for 1 year, but soon enough was convinced to get his certification and began patrolling the beaches. 8 years later, Shaun still spends his summers patrolling the beach; in addition he also runs training sessions with the recruits.
In 2015 Shaun began managing a modified rugby team for kids with Down syndrome and autism. Shaun says ‘I wanted to be involved as soon as I found out about the program. They needed coaches and mentors initially for the kids which my children got involved in.’ Shaun says the thing he enjoys most about the work he does, is the smile he sees on the kid’s faces, knowing that this was giving them an opportunity to play the game that he loved so much. He says ‘I got a sensational feeling when I first saw a little kid smiling as he was running up the field and his mother was almost in tears watching him!’
Time spent volunteering
When asked about the amount of time Shaun spends volunteering he recounts arriving at the surf lifesaving club on Saturday morning at 7am and leaving on Sunday afternoon at 5pm. This is so common for Shaun that he keeps a sleeping bag at the club!
From August through to April, Shaun will spend roughly 6 hours every second weekend patrolling the beach, and an additional 3 hours running training sessions not to mention he sits on the board and is required to allocate time to attend board meetings
February to August (yes there is an overlap!) see Shaun coaching football for roughly 8 hours per week, and from April to June he spends approximately 3 hours per week managing the MRP program.
And let’s not forget about the hour a fortnight that Shaun spends donating plasma!
Shaun can’t really tell you what motivates him to generously donate his time in the manner that he does, he says ‘I really don’t know. I guess it comes back to my upbringing, my parents have always managed and coached teams; it’s just what I have always known.’
Shaun continues to say that ‘I did achieve a bit in rugby so that is where the coaching came from. The rest I just sort of fell into. I just enjoyed what I was doing and wanted to do something good.’
For Shaun rugby has always been a part of his life, his benefit now is seeing that he can pass the skills that he learnt onto others and help teach them; but the thing he is most proud of is his work with the MRP program.
Amazingly Shaun doesn’t see his efforts as ‘giving back’. He states ‘I get something from it too, I am benefiting; I have good friends I have made through the programs, my office turns into a beach in the summer, I get to drive a boat though the waves and I get to train kids! I get a lot out of it.’
Shaun’s children have also been involved with the MRP and Surf Lifesaving programs through the years and he credits the programs to keeping him connected to his youth.
Shaun says ‘I don’t see it as giving back, it is keeping me connected to what made me happiest. I see it as adding value.’
Followmont Transport is proud to have Shaun as part of our family and supports him in his ongoing commitment to the community.