By Bronwyn Stephens, District Governor Elect
“I’m going to be the best self I can be”is the attitude of the candidates we celebrated at the Shine On awards on Sunday 20th June. It is fitting that every nominee is a winner and is honoured with a beautiful framed certificate which states their qualities and community endeavours.
GOWI = Get on with it!
Clubs nominate people in their community that, despite disability, demonstrate resilience. LAAARF (Laughability) Choir Master Leon Scott described this as “character muscle” and he reminded us quite rightly that Rotarians are so fortunate to be associated with people who teach us “lessons of empowerment” when they have overcome adversity through living with disability with quiet resilience and not accepting that they are restricted… but just “GOWI”. Get On With It!
I am reminded of this each week at Donations in Kind warehouse volunteering beside Barry Douglas and his carer Rosemary. Barry from the Rotary Club of Altona City has an acquired brain injury following a motor vehicle injury while attending a Rotary meeting some years ago. I admire he and his wife Jan enormously for their “can do” attitude. Barry takes great pride in constructing student packs at DIK…but that is only a small part of his Rotary and other community contribution. Rosemary also volunteers. She doesn’t have to, but she just does.
Disability: Acquired Brain Injury (pedestrian hit by a car) and requires a full-time carer.
Nominating Club: Rotary Club of Melbourne South
Community: Member of the Rotary Club of Altona City, Barry works for Rotary Donations in Kind packing boxes for overseas aid. Volunteer tree planting, helps at Rotary BBQs, polishes the display cabinets at the RAAF Museum.
Other District 9800 nominations were Mischa Ginns from Albert Park and Les Porter from Wyndham
Disability: In 1987 as a pedestrian, Leslie was seriously injured in a car accident suffering ID, hemi-plegia paralysis and loss of one leg and has a titanium prosthesis.
Nominating Club: Rotary Club of Wyndham
Community: Annually, Leslie runs in charity events and has accrued $22,000 in sponsorship in 8 years. He has raised $10,500 for the Wyndham Salvation Army Former City Chairman of the Salvation Army Red Shield Appeal, Integration Aide at local schools, Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games Baton Relay carrier, and Volunteer of the Year 2007.
Disability: Complex Regional Pain Syndrome after complications from a spinal cord injury leaving her in hospital for 2 and a half years. After rehab she uses a wheelchair and sometimes crutches. Also mental health issues.
Nominating Club: Rotary Club of Albert Park
Community: Whilst still in hospital/rehab, Mischa made over 1000 gift cards for fundraising for St Vincent’s Hospital, RC Chadstone/East Malvern and “St Vincent’s Footbridge”. Member of Compass Church and volunteer for Compass Church Community Care. Sells her gift cards at the Chadstone Craft Market. Booking Secretary for RC Albert Park Women in Rotary Breakfast. In 2009 she raised over $13,000 for SIDS and KIDS Victoria.
Another aspect of the awards is that they are Victoria wide, and we rotate the host district. Next year District 9800 will host “Shine On” and our representative Louise Bugeja from the Rotary Club of Hoppers Crossing will be sending out information. In the meantime, there are so many people to celebrate in our community.
What a happy pat on the back it gives to be celebrated in such a way. Could we think of lots of people to give a ray of “Shine On” to in 2018 perhaps? Louise will be at District Assembly with further information, supported by Marg Desmyth from the Rotary Club of Brighton North.