by Julia Baker
CLERGYMEN often speak of the moment when God called them to a life of service, but for Lee Dallman his journey into the church had less to do with divine intervention and more to do with how he saw the world.
"I studied accounting at uni with the view of becoming an Australian Federal Police officer but failed the colour blindness test," Pastor Dallman said.
"I sat it twice and failed it twice and then I didn't know what to do."
It was a stint working as a garbage man which led Pastor Dallman to realise he wanted to help people.
"I did the inner city run in Toowoomba and it was back in the day when you had two guys on the truck and you had to run to get the bin," hesaid.
"I built up a group of people who loved to see me.
"I used to see a woman on Clifford St on Mondays and I would be her only visitor and there was an autistic boy who wouldn't speak to anyone else other than his family and I would have a big chat with him.
"So I built up this group of people and that's when I decided I enjoyed helping people."
More than 10 years later and Pastor Dallman is now the senior pastor at Western Downs Community Church, where he spends most of his time in his office with the door wide open.
"I take a lot of drop-ins from people looking for help," he said.
"They might just need a hand with life, relationships or mental health issues.
"Most of the time, it's people who aren't connected to the church, they're just people from the community.
"The way I see this role, for people within the church I help them with their spiritual development and emotional health, and outside the church it's to help wherever we can in whatever way we can."
Pastor Dallman said while he was not often stumped when giving advice he did not always have the answers to life's bigger questions.
"Lots of times I have no answer and I'm just honest about it. Why did God let this happen? I have no idea, I have no answer but I'll help you as much as I can," hesaid.
"Grief or loss are the real heartbreakers.
"I've learnt to cry with people a lot, it's hard but it's just something that's a part of the job.
"I love my job, love the town and love helping people, and we're going to be here a for a long time."