By Christine O’Mahony
On Sunday 17th May 2015, Bill Fitzgerald a local of Cullen Bullen was honoured with a Lifetime Member Service Badge for 77 years of dedicated service to the St Vincent de Paul Society.
The honour was bestowed on Bill at a St Vincent de Paul Mass and Luncheon held to celebrate 85 years of Vincentian Mission within Kandos. In attendance were Members of St Dominic’s Conference, Vinnies Centre Volunteers, and St Dominic’s Parishioners along with many other Society Members and Staff from across the Evans Region and Bathurst Central Council.
At the luncheon Bill was presented with his Lifetime Member Service badge by Bathurst Central Council President Bob Lulham. Bob congratulated Bill on behalf of the NSW Society State President Ray Reynolds and all Members of the Society. Bob acknowledged the great significance of the length of service Bill has given and continues to give to the Society.
Bill was also congratulated on his 90th birthday which he celebrated back in April and was presented with a cake.
Evans Regional President Christine O’Mahony spoke about Bill’s achievements during these 77 years, giving a brief overview of Bill’s life:
Bill went to the Christian Brothers High School in Darlinghurst. He joined the Society around the age of 14. In 1941 Bill joined the RAAF, and after the war he worked for Sydney City Council and joined the Maternal Heart of Mary Conference at Ozanam House, Circular Quay. He became President.
When the NSW State Council was formed Bill was made President of the Building and Development Team for NSW. This involved the building of hostels for the Aged and Homeless and the building of many Centres. This included building new facilities in Orange and Dubbo. Bill was by then a Member of the Forestville Conference in Middle Harbour, where he lived with his wife Shirley and their 3 children.
Bill also became President of the NSW State Council in 1979 and held this position for many years. During this time many Centres and Hostel facilities were built. Bill also established the Sydney Night Patrol. He was also a Vice President of the National Council. Bill continued to work as Director of Health and Community Services for the City of Sydney Council during this very challenging and interesting time.
Towards the end of the eighties Bill retired and in 1989 Bill and Shirley moved to Cullen Bullen near Portland, NSW. Bill immediately joined the St Vincent’s Conference Portland and was soon involved with Evans Regional Council and the Bathurst Diocesan Council.
Bill has held the following positions between 1990 and 2015: Vice President of The Diocesan Council (now the Bathurst Central Council), President of the Diocesan Centres Committee, President of the Aged Care Committee, Member of the Overseas Aid Committee, Currently President of Evans Region Social Justice Committee
His other Involvements with the Society have included being a Member of the National Welfare Committee to the Federal Government; President of the Homeless Persons Advisory Committee for the NSW Government; Member of the Overseas Aid Programs Committee which involved extensive visitation to Conferences within the Pacific Region. This work involved the overseeing of funds expended and also identifying areas of assistance required; Bill also visited the USA West Coast to observe programs run by the Society to assist the Homeless; Bill also visited Honolulu regarding Drug Assistance Programs run by the Society.
During these 77 years with the Society Bill has worked tirelessly to assist people with the best possible quality of services. He cares deeply about supporting all Members and Volunteers within the Society and has made many life-long friends.
Bill always sees the big picture and is never daunted by any perceived difficulties in achieving a goal which may improve the services or facilities provided by the Society.
Bill is still a proactive member of the Society.
Thank you and congratulations Bill!