Bairnsdale Regional Health Service plays host to over 250 volunteers who spread their time over a range of different areas of the hospital. Amongst those quietly going about their business is 91 year old Judy Ward, whose face has been seen manning the kiosk for over 50 years.
Judy was born in Caulfield before moving to Bairnsdale with her husband, Don, who worked as the Clerk of Courts. The couple had travelled to Bairnsdale on their honeymoon and liked the area, eventually deciding to relocate.
Sixty years later and Judy has had seven children, has 13 grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
Judy started her time volunteering at BRHS (then Bairnsdale Hospital) when there was a call for volunteers. Quietly spoken, but with a naturally warm and friendly personality, Judy is adamant she deserves no accolades.
Judy has memories of the kiosk being in various locations around the hospital, many of these locations were very small.
“I always worked the third Tuesday of the month and had very little time off over the years,” she said.
She also can remember volunteering for the Hospital Library when all they had was a trolley of books.
“We would push this old trolley around the hospital from bed to bed with only the books for loan. I remember everyone asking for western books and we never had any,” she said laughing.
Judy is no stranger to the volunteering world being a highly respected member of the Catholic Church community and donating hours of her time to various church activities over the years. She has also volunteered with St Vincents Opportunity Shop and in more recent years the St Mary’s Opportunity Shop for over 60 years as well as long periods of time with Meals on Wheels. She was honoured by being named Bairnsdale Citizen of the Year in 2015.
When asked what she loves about volunteering she said “I always feel like I get so much more out of it than what I put in. I love meeting and helping people.”
“As well as looking after my family, volunteering has been a very important part of my life. It’s probably what has kept me going all these years.”
BRHS recently celebrated all of its volunteers during National Volunteer Week with an afternoon tea.
The BRHS Kiosk is currently looking for new volunteers to join the team. The hours are flexible and new members will be teamed with a buddy to help them learn the ropes. If you have some time to spare and would like to give to a good cause please contact Sandra Martin at the BRHS Kiosk for more information.