LUNCHEON - 29TH OCTOBER 2014
Topic: The Sir John Reid Community Service Award 2014-15
Speaker: John Wakefield - Awardee
Chairman: Tom Crampton
Sir John Reid, known always as Jock, was inducted into the Rotary Club of Melbourne in December 1939 with a classification of building material-manufacturing. He remained a Rotarian until his death at age 81 in 1984. His interview for membership was undertaken by Sir Angus Mitchell and he, in due course, delivered the Angus Mitchell Oration to the Club in 1981. He was President of the Club in 1953-54, awarded the vocational service award in 1978, and made a Paul Harris Fellow in 1984. Among his many Rotary activities was a role in re-establishing Rotary in post war Japan.
Sir John was involved in many organizations through his life, and many have continued through the family trusts he established. Some of contemporary interest include the Brotherhood of St Laurence and the Baker Institute. However, he supported or served on a variety of Boards including the ABC, Melbourne YMCA, Old Colonists Association of Victoria, the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital, the Walter and Eliza Hall Medical Research Institute, the Victorian College of the Arts, and the University of Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, to name a few.
The Rotary Club of Melbourne introduced a Community Service Award in his honour in 1987. The award is made in recognition of an individual judged to have been devoted to community welfare for a lengthy period without remuneration and the recipient is presented with a citation and plaque commissioned by the Club and produced by sculptor Michael Meszaros. The Artist believes Community service is largely concerned with helping the old, the young, the sick and the unemployed. People in these 4 categories are constrained and limited by their circumstances. The plaque design shows these four areas enclosed by a wall, but with an open door with perspective lines running out through it to a rising sun. The door has been opened by a hand which belongs to the recipient of the award. The wall is the limitations, the door is the release from those limitations and the lines leading to the sun are the new opportunities. The hand makes it all happen.
Synopsis Of The Lunch
John’s commitment to people with disabilities began when he was employed as a nurse at the Kew Cottages. While there he established a scout troop for young men with disabilities and ran it in his own time. In 1986 John was involved in a serious car accident, which left him with an acquired brain injury and unable to continue as a nurse educator. In overcoming his injuries John’s passion was only further fuelled to promote the needs of people with disability.
John then became active in the establishment of Headway Victoria, a support and advocacy agency for people with head injuries, later becoming its president. John was appointed as a member of the Victorian Minister for Human Services’ Quality Improvement Reference Committee in the 1990’s and served in that capacity with humanity and distinction for the life of the committee.
For a number of years John was an active member of the state branch committee of the Australian Society for the Study of Intellectual Disability and for the past 9 years has been a board member of the Friends of L’Arche, Melbourne; an organisation assisting people with intellectual disabilities to build community links and friendships and become an integral part of an accepting and embracing community.
John has continued his dedication to lifting the profile of people with needs through his many “hands on” contributions in a voluntary capacity with organisations such as the Northern Region Accommodation Committee, the Nillumbik Disability Advisory Committee, Melbourne City Mission, Leadership Plus, and The Department of Transport’s Accessible Transport Committee.
John’s contributions are significant but his firm commitment is even further highlighted when one realizes that, since his accident, John has been unable to drive. This has meant that all his many hours of community service work, undertaken at all times of the day and evening and often at significant distances from his home, required him to use public transport.
John’s generosity of spirit is reflected in his perseverance regardless of his own circumstances. He’s has opened many doors and enhance the richness of the lives of people with disabilities. The Rotary Club of Melbourne considers John to be a worthy recipient of the Sir John Reid Community Service Award for 2015.