Friday the first of May. The first day of that month and the last day we will have the beautiful Angie with us at the Homes.
Angie joined us some 11 years ago when it had become obvious that our administrative tasks had reached the stage where we needed someone full time in the office. I’m not sure who in the committee found Angie (although I suspect it was Don Sinclair) but whoever it was should be feted for ever.
Not only was Angie a delightful person, she was efficient, calm, caring and noting was too much trouble. She sailed through the stormy seas of incessant phone calls, demands from residents, and endless enquiries from social workers and doctors without missing a beat. Problems in the Homes, if they were too large to be handled by her were efficiently passed on to the relevant volunteer or the appropriate committee member. All the while keeping a calm demeanour. When talking to you she made you think that you were the only person that mattered.
Residents often came to Angie with a range of problems, many simple like how do I get to the shops, or do you have some books or videos I can borrow, my kettle doesn’t work, the hot water’s not working for example. But many of the problems were personal. These were people who had come to Melbourne as out-patients at our large Melbourne hospitals for treatment for severe and often life-threatening illnesses. They were very worried about what the future held for them. Many were also carers of these residents and they were also very worried. Angie met these concerns with advice and counsel, calmed those with fears and apprehensions and helped them relax and ease their worries.
Tasks that would have made professional building supervisors shake in their boots seemed like bread and butter to her. Take the time when it was decided to retro-fit lifts to Buildings 12 and 14. Each building needed to be closed down while the work was going on, so rearranging accommodation requirements for our residents was a nightmare. Work noise, dust, deliveries of materials, managing requests from the workers were only some of the problems faced and solved. When the lift in Building 14 was being constructed, Angie needed to move to a cramped room in Building 12 so she could continue her work. Not a problem. In fact she gave the impression that nothing was ever a problem. A challenge maybe, but a problem? Not really.
Angie grew with the role and introduced systems and management techniques where there were none. With the increasing demand for accommodation, we moved from a paper based booking system to a computerised one and Angie handled the move with ease, although it must be said that the system was not always that co-operative.
The Homes cannot really operate all that well without our team of selfless volunteers. Angie managed them with aplomb, allocated tasks and assisted where necessary with advice and encouragement.
The Homes Committee came to depend on Angie for much. During my time as president I saw much more of Angie than when I was just a committee member. It was during this time that I began to really appreciate what she did for the Homes and its’ residents. Of course I knew she worked hard and achieved much, but it wasn’t until I worked with her that I saw just how hard she worked and just how much she achieved.
With Angie gone it will be and end of an era and I’m so glad that we have Nicky to take over. I know she will do a wonderful job because I’ve seen her at work.
So, farewell Angie. I wish you every success for whatever future role you take on, and if you stay in the corporate or Not-for-profit sector, you will be their gain because your leaving us is our loss.
Don Hamilton, Past President