By Mandy Oakham
Meet Ocean Grove’s first lady, Madam President Judy Greer.
You name a voluntary organisation and Judy has probably been the president of it, and in recognition of more than 48 years of volunteering and general community heroics she has been recognised for her work by the Victorian Government.
This month Judy was one of 60 volunteers from all over Victoria to receive recognition through the Premier’s Volunteer Champions Awards scheme.
Working alongside Judy during those all those years of service has been first gentleman, and first and only husband, Rod, who himself has presided over a few presidencies of his own. Both were teachers when they first married and they spent many of the first few years working in different country postings around the state and volunteering just became part of establishing themselves in the new communities that they found themselves in which included Sale,Stawell, Wedderburn and Camperdown.
“At Wedderburn they had a pool but no swimming instructors, so we started up a swimming school and used to do that on Sunday mornings for the kids before we went to church and… er… yes on the way to church we used to water the local tennis courts!” Judy laughed.
“I guess volunteering is just something I have always done ever since I was a child helping Mum and Dad with their volunteering activities,” Judy said.
“It is just such a wonderful way of getting to know a community and whatever you give out you get back so much more.“
With family grown and teaching careers coming to an end, the energetic couple decided to “retire” by the sea in Ocean Grove. Their retirement lasted a whole six months before they found themselves back front and centre in local activities focusing on work with the Uniting Church and their long term relationship with Rotary.
From their very own “white house” in Emperor Drive this very giving couple still operate an open door policy with frequent visitors and guests, be they Rotarians or visitors on rotary exchanges.
After first settling in the Grove Judy became the manager of the first Rotary Sunday markets for three years and still helps out on market day.
Her work with the local Uniting Church includes pastoral visits, shifts in the Dove Op shop, presiding over weekly “ coffee and chat“ drop ins, and one of her favourite activities is helping with the Sunday services for the elderly at Seaview Manor.
The first lady habit is a hard habit to break and Judy is the present president of the adult fellowship group at the Uniting Church and and has held various other positions such as chairing the church council and the church fundraising committee.
“I hate to think how much cooking I have done over the years and the tables of food that have left here to go the many causes and events we have been involved with but both Rod and I feel so privileged to have been a part of all the communities we have lived in,“ Judy said.