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					February 2009 | Issue 3


      members
    Red Cross Calling Appeal
    Forty-four years and still
    knocking
    Tracing a family history
    Piecing together a past
    Murray Marathon
    The end of a glorious era
    Going green
    New initiatives
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                                                                                                                                                                              “I have knocked
Forty-four years                                                                                                                                                                                                  You can
                                                                                                                           This year will see Bob McDiarmid take
                                                                                                                           part in his 44th Red Cross Calling                 on my fair share
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  feed hungry
                      still knocking
                                                                                                                           Appeal. A member since 1965,
                                                                                                                                                                             of doors over the
and
                                                                                                                           94-year-old Bob has already begun
                                                                                                                           preparations in a bid to get people in
                                                                                                                           his local community knocking on doors
                                                                                                                                                                                years. I think I                  kids just by
                                                                                                                           for Red Cross this March.                             have knocked                     walking down
                                                                                                                                                                              on every door in
                                                                                                                           How did you get involved
                                                                                                                                                                                  Heathmont.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  the street
                                                                                                                           with Red Cross?
                                                                                                                           The Heathmont unit was formed in                                                       You can help Red Cross provide
                                                                                                                           1965. My wife was asked to join and                                                    important services to the most
                                                                                                                           as she was looking for something to           In years gone by, you name it, we        disadvantaged people in our
                                                                                                                           do at the time, she decided to get            did it. If you go back and look at all   communities just by knocking on
                                                                                                                           involved. The inevitable thing happened       the results, Heathmont has raised a      a few doors this March.
                                                                                                                           and she told them to put my name              lot of money from doing all sorts of
                                                                                                                           down too, so that’s how I started.            things. I feel very proud of the         In 2008, the Red Cross Calling Appeal
                                                                                                                                                                         amount of work the unit has done         raised more than $9 million with more
                                                                                                                           The following year I was asked to take        over the years.                          than $2.2 million coming from Victoria.
                                                                                                                           part in Red Cross Calling and I said
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Almost half of this amount was raised
                                                                                                                           no. I was working six days a week, all        How do you get people
                                                                                                                           hours of the day. I just didn’t have the                                               by members. Our 2009 target is again
                                                                                                                           time. But it’s the usual old story – I told   on board with Red Cross                  $9 million, and we know that in these
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  tough economic times we are going
                                                                                                                           them if they were stuck I would do it         Calling?                                 to need all the help we can get to
                                                                                                                           that year but after that they would need
                                                                                                                           to get someone else. That was 40 odd          I have learnt that you will only get     reach that target.
                                                                                                                           years ago and I have been at it since.        people to get involved through
                                                                                                                                                                         personal contact. I am also a firm       Funds raised during the appeal support
                                                                                                                           Why Red Cross?                                believer that you can’t expect people    programs like Good Start Breakfast
                                                                                                                                                                         to do what you won’t do yourself. I      Clubs, which provide nutritious
                                                                                                                           My father worked with Red Cross back          have knocked on my fair share of         breakfasts to thousands of Australian
                                                                                                                           in World War I. He had something to           doors over the years. I think I have     primary school children, and the
                                                                                                                           do with the dispatch of goods and so          knocked on every door in Heathmont.      Telecross service, which provides a
                                                                                                                           forth to fighting services in France.
                                                                                                                                                                         I also host a radio program on Radio     reassuring daily phone call to elderly
                                                                                                                           That’s about when I was born, so
                                                                                                                           whether that had an effect on me I            Eastern. We conduct a program for        people living alone so that they can
                                                                                                                           don’t know.                                   the benefit of the community, during     live independently in their own homes.
                                                                                                                                                                         which we promote Red Cross and           We are in the final stages of organising
                                                                                                                           When the opportunity came along to            Red Cross Calling. We do very well in
                                                                                                                           get involved with Red Cross, both                                                      volunteers to collect on our behalf
                                                                                                                                                                         Maroondah for Red Cross Calling
                                                                                                                           Gwen and I took it on. We’re a good           collection and I’d like to think that    this March; however doorknock
                                                                                                                           team. It’s been good because it’s a           somewhere along the line the radio       opportunities are still available. If you
                                                                                                                           common interest and something that            program has had a bit to do with that.   know anyone who would like to join
                                                                                                                           has always been there. Once I take on                                                  the tens of thousands of dedicated
                                                                                                                           anything I give it my best. Whether it        What do you take away                    volunteers as they walk down their
                                                                                                                           has been successful or not I don’t                                                     streets for a cause this year, please
                                                                                                                           know, but I’d like to think it has.           from the experience?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  contact 1800 244 728.
                                                                                                                                                                         You get a lot of personal satisfaction
                                                                                                                           You received a medal and                      out of it. I have always preached over
                                                                                                                           were made an honorary                         the years that the volunteers
                                                                                                                                                                         themselves are perhaps getting
                                                                                                                           life member of Red Cross                      greater pleasure out of doing the
                                                                                                                           in 2007. How did that                         work for Red Cross than the person
                                                                                                                                                                         receiving the service. It’s that great
                                                                                                                           make you feel?                                feeling of doing something with their
                                                                                                                           They have made it very awkward for            lives and being able to help someone
                                                                                                                           me now because it means I can’t               in the community. Without the
                                                                                                                           retire! I have never regretted my time        volunteers, this country would stop.
                                                                                                                           with Red Cross because I have met a
This year Bob McDiarmid will take part in his 44th Red Cross Calling Appeal. Photo: Australian Red Cross/Lisa Fitzgerald   lot of wonderful people.
PAGE 4                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       PAGE 5


                                                                                                                                          “It was all very

Holding on                                                                                                                               frustrating until
                                                                                                                                         I contacted Red

  to                        history
                                                                                                                                              Cross. They
                                                                                                                                         found my family
                                                                                                                                              so quickly.”

It’s never too late to start a trace on a   Gabrielle visited the Perczels a second    ‘I paid $50.00 and an official handed       ‘However, they also told me that my
missing family member, as Gabrielle         time in 1979, this time with her           me a letter written in Hungarian.           favourite cousin Vicki had died. This
Connell discovered last year.               Australian mother, who was now             When I asked what it meant, he said         was something that happened 10
                                            divorced from her father. The pair left    “couldn’t find anyone”.’                    years ago for them, but it was so fresh
Gabrielle Connell spent most of her
                                            Budapest with a promise to stay in                                                     for me – I found that hard,’ she says.
adult life wondering what happened                                                     ‘I thought I would give up after this
                                            touch – however not long after the
to the extended family she met in                                                      experience – I felt I had done              The family reminisced about Gabrielle’s
                                            visit, the letters Gabrielle had been
Budapest, Hungary, in the 1970s.                                                       everything I could, including visiting my   two visits in the 1970s and lamented a
                                            receiving from Vera’s family stopped
                                                                                       family’s old home in Budapest with my       missed opportunity to meet during
After searching on and off since losing     without explanation.
                                                                                       husband,’ she says.                         Gabrielle’s 2007 trip. Following Vicki’s
touch the following decade, Gabrielle
                                            ‘My father suffered from a mental                                                      death, the Perczels had moved to
asked the Red Cross tracing service                                                    It was while discussing her efforts with
                                            illness,’ Gabrielle says. ‘I was never                                                 the outskirts of Budapest, where they
in February 2008 to help her look for                                                  a group of friends over lunch a short
                                            sure if it was his decision to cease the                                               still live.
the wife of her father’s deceased                                                      time later, that a girlfriend suggested
                                            relationship or whether the letters had
cousin Alex, Vera Perczel. Last                                                        Gabrielle contact Red Cross. She had        Since their first telephone call,
                                            been blocked by the communist
September, she received a telephone                                                    heard of someone finding their family       Gabrielle remains in regular contact
                                            government of the time, a common
call to say that Vera and her family                                                   through the organisation’s free family      with the family, particularly Katy.
                                            occurrence in those days,’ she says.
had been located and that they were                                                    tracing service and thought Gabrielle
                                            ‘The only communication was through                                                    ‘When you are an only child, no one
eager to hear from her.                                                                might be able to do the same.
                                            my father, who told me that Alex had                                                   else in the world looks like you. Katy
An only child, Gabrielle was 18 when        died.’                                     Gabrielle approached Red Cross in           and I look so alike. It’s just nice that
she first met her father’s cousin Alex                                                 February last year. After case workers      they want to know me. As an only
                                            Over the following years, Gabrielle sent
and his family on a trip to Budapest                                                   determined that her case met the            child, that’s important,’ she says.
                                            numerous letters to the only address
with her Hungarian father in 1974.                                                     required criteria, Gabrielle provided her
                                            she had and tried every Perczel in the                                                 ‘Growing up, I received a lot of
                                                                                       cousin’s name and the family’s
Gabrielle was immediately charmed           Budapest telephone book in an                                                          prejudice because my father was so
                                                                                       address from the 1970s.
by her extended family and                  attempt to rekindle the relationship.                                                  different from other dads and because
overwhelmed by the similarities she         Ten years after her father passed          ‘It was all very frustrating until I        I was part Hungarian,’ Gabrielle says.
shared with people she had never            away, a conversation with an               contacted Red Cross. They found my          ‘I found him embarrassing, but now
met, having heard little throughout her     employee set Gabrielle off on an active    family so quickly,’ she says.               that I’m older and getting to know his
childhood of her father’s life beyond       search for her Hungarian family.                                                       side of my family, I have become proud
                                                                                       Seven months after starting the Red
his migration to Australia following                                                                                               of that European connection.’
                                            ‘In 2006 we were running our own           Cross search, Gabrielle received a
World War II. The family’s two                                                                                                     In the meantime, Gabrielle has two
                                            business in Sydney,’ Gabrielle says.       telephone call from her case worker
daughters, Vicki and Katy, were of a                                                                                               daughters who she is keen to
                                            ‘We had a Hungarian book keeper and        confirming that Vera Perczel and her
similar age to Gabrielle and the girls                                                                                             introduce to the Perczels.
                                            I mentioned my father was from             family had been contacted and that
connected immediately.
                                            Hungary and that I had cousins there,      they were all eager to hear from her.
                                                                                                                                   ‘As you get older, you think about
‘My father wanted me to see Hungary,        but that we had lost contact,’ she                                                     what you are handing down to your
                                                                                       Her first telephone call to Vera last
but I didn’t know what to expect,’          says. ‘He said he had a cousin in                                                      children. You want to have things in
                                                                                       September was dominated by
Gabrielle remembers. ‘I didn’t know         Budapest that I could email with my                                                    common with your family and I find
                                                                                       laughter. Vera and her daughter Katy
anything about his life there except        family’s details and she would try to                                                  that this is exactly what I have with my
                                                                                       were excited to share their news about
that the war had destroyed everything       find out more. So I emailed his cousin                                                 father’s family in Budapest. I can now
                                                                                       life in Budapest and to hear what had
for him, including his business.            everything I knew.’                                                                    hand this history down to my girls.’
                                                                                       happened to their Australian cousin.
‘My relationship with my father was         About six months later, Gabrielle                                                      If you or someone you know is
                                                                                       ‘There was no issue on their side
difficult,’ she says. ‘I grew up thinking   received a call from the Hungarian                                                     seeking to reconnect with a family
                                                                                       about getting back in touch with me.
that all Eastern Europeans were like        Consulate in Sydney, asking that she                                                   member separated by war or
                                                                                       I called them and they were thrilled to
him, but the Perczels were so lovely.’      go there to receive more information                                                   disaster, contact 03 8327 7700
                                                                                       hear from me,’ Gabrielle says.                                                         After searching for years, Gabrielle Connell found her extended family in Hungary through the Red Cross
                                            about the Perczels.                                                                    or email vicinfo@redcross.org.au.          tracing service. Photo: Australian Red Cross/Lisa Fitzgerald
PAGE 6                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          PAGE 7



                                                                                                                  “I consider the
                                                                                                                                                           Caring for humanity
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               shop customers. Instead, customers
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               will be given the option of purchasing
                                                                                                                Red Cross Murray                                                                                                               a re-usable string bag.
                                                                                                                Marathon a world-
                                                                                                                    class event.”
                                                                                                                                                           and the environment                                                                 ‘Helping to reduce the amount of
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               plastic ending up in landfill is part of
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Red Cross’ commitment to better
                                                                                                                                                           Red Cross has established an           Dreamsafe strips back each mattress,         care for our environment,’ Manager of
                                                                                                                                                           Environmental Policy to provide        sanitising and recycling the useful          Red Cross Retail Operations Stephen
                                                                                                                                                           impetus for change in this area.       parts into new mattresses to sell to         Lavender said.
                                                                                                        It was the 17th time the veteran                                                          not-for-profit organisations.
                                                                                                                                                           The policy will impact the way Red
                                                                                                        paddler had completed the course,                  Cross manages resources such as        Previously Red Cross was unable to
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Mobile phone recycling
                                                                                                        having paddled his first Red Cross                 energy, water and paper, as well as    provide mattresses due to the cost, and      fundraiser
                                                                                                        Murray Marathon in the late 1970s.                 influence decision making around the   second-hand donated mattresses were          Mobile phones are being collected to
                                                                                                        ‘I consider the Red Cross Murray                   purchase of products and services      prohibited for health and dignity reasons.   keep toxic substances from landfill
                                                                                                        Marathon a world-class event,’ Tony said.          and waste management.                                                               and, at the same time, raise money
                                                                                                                                                                                                  ‘It was a major issue – people were
                                                                                                        ‘It is as important as any other event of                                                 sleeping on floors, make-shift beds or       for Red Cross.
                                                                                                        its kind and it’s right here in Australia.’        Mattresses                             pillows,’ Red Cross caseworker Chris         Each phone collected through Red
                                                                                                        Red Cross announced in July that it                Red Cross can now provide mattresses   McNamara said.                               Cross clothing recycling bins, Red
                                                                                                        would be ending its association with               to refugees and asylum seekers as
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Cross offices and some workplaces
Above: McKillop Superheroes went the extra mile for Red Day on day four of the Red Cross Murray River
                                                                                                        the Murray River Marathon following                part of the Household Goods            Plastic bags                                 will raise between $5.00 to $6.50 to
Marathon. Cover: Willy Morris gives the thumbs up to a cheering crowd as he takes out third place.                                                         Program thanks to environmentally
Photos: Australian Red Cross/Luke Plummer                                                               this year’s 40th anniversary event.                                                       From 1 November, plastic bags will no        support vulnerable people in Australia
                                                                                                                                                           friendly company Dreamsafe.
                                                                                                        Red Cross Executive Director Victorian                                                    longer be supplied to Red Cross retail       and overseas.

End of an era for                                                                                       Division, Andrew Hilton, said Red
                                                                                                        Cross was pleased that the YMCA will


Murray Marathon
                                                                                                        take on the event.
                                                                                                        ‘The decision to cease our association             Obituaries                             It is with deepest regret that we announce the death of the following members.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Our deepest sympathy is extended to family, friends and colleagues.
                                                                                                        with the marathon was a very difficult
                                                                                                        one for the organisation to make, so to             Name                   Unit                    Region       Name                    Unit                       Region
New Year’s Eve 2008 marked the final               other marathon veterans as well as                   know that the event will continue on
day of the Murray Marathon, bringing               paddlers participating for the first time.           into the future is a great result for all           John Adams             Wangoom                 5            Lorraine Lavars         Keilor                     1
to an end a 40-year tradition as                                                                        involved,’ Andrew said.                             Grace Barnes           Manangatang             19           Jim Leeder              Donald and Dist            17
                                                   More than 250 dedicated volunteers
paddlers crossed the finish line in                                                                     Congratulations to all paddlers, crews,             Jill Blackwell         Malvern                 2            Myra Maclean            Hamilton                   4
                                                   provided support to the paddlers and
Swan Hill.                                                                                              members and volunteers involved in
                                                   3000 crew members throughout the                                                                         Joyce Butler           Leongatha               26           Thelma McColl           Buninyong                  15
The final year saw a record 1065                   five-day event.                                      the event this year and throughout the
paddlers take on the 404km gruelling                                                                    marathon’s long history. A special                  Nancy Clarke           Bentleigh               2            Margaret McCulloch      Barwon Heads               7
                                                   Peter Moran, Senior Manager
course in a spectacular show of                                                                         congratulations to the Red Cross                    Janise Coleman         Rosebud/Dromana         8B           Gwen McFadyen           Melton                     15
                                                   Marketing, Fundraising and
enthusiasm, costumes and sheer                                                                          Murray Marathon Committee for its                   Kath Ellifson          Natimuk                 17           Jill Mercer             Hamilton                   4
                                                   Communications with Red Cross,
determination.                                                                                          work and dedication over the years.
                                                   spent the five days cheering paddlers                                                                    Edna Faull             Derrinallum             6            Ruby Mitchell           Tallangatta                24
One of the longest annual canoe                    on from the Murray’s banks.
                                                                                                                                                            Denise Foster          Ex Rosedale             10           Myra Olsson             Cohuna                     20
races in the world, the marathon
                                                   ‘The marathon was a massive success                                                                      Lesley Gellatly        Murtoa                  17           Helen Parfrey           Rosebud/Dromana            8B
attracted families, friends, members,
                                                   this year,’ Peter said. ‘It was the biggest
volunteers and workmates – all raising                                                                                                                      Jennifer Goode         Mitcham                 3            Peg Reilly              Cobram Opportunity         22
                                                   event in the history of the marathon
money for Red Cross services. More                                                                                                                                                                                                              Shop Service Group
                                                   and we’ve been overwhelmed by the                                                                        Lorraine Hamilton      Kennington              20
than $430,000 was raised, exceeding
                                                   support we’ve received, with more than                                                                   Betty Harrison         Corryong                24           Valerie Roseblade       Warragul                   9
the $404,000 target set by Red Cross
                                                   300 boats pulling into the finish line on                                                                                                                            Olive Ryan              Heywood                    4
earlier in the year.                                                                                                                                        Joan Hyslop            Hamilton                4
                                                   New Year’s Eve,’ he said.
As an appropriate end to 40 years,                                                                                                                          Daphne Jarvis          Corryong                24           Cyril Trigg             Wangoom                    5
                                                   Three men over the age of 50 took out
founder Mark Thornthwaite, who first                                                                                                                        Olive Kilsby           Strathdownie            4            Dorothy White           Berwick/Upper              8A
                                                   the top three places in the event, with
took to the Murray in 1969 with a                                                                                                                                                                                                               Beaconsfield
                                                   Albury man and race leader Tony                                                                          Olive Lamont           Black Hill              15
group of friends to raise $250 for Red                                                                                                                                                                                  Mabel White             Hamilton                   4
                                                   Zerbst leading the paddlers through
Cross, paddled as part of a relay                                                                       Tony Zerbst takes a final powerful stroke to win    Peg Lanyon             Hamilton                4
                                                   the finish line at around 1.00 pm on                 the Red Cross Murray Marathon in 2008.                                                                          Joyce Zeuschener        Welshpool                  26
team. He was joined on the river by
                                                   New Year’s Eve.                                      Photo: Australian Red Cross/Luke Plummer
PAGE 8




  In brief
                                                came one week after a major training         Contribute:
                                                exercise for the Red Cross catering
                                                                                             We are always on the lookout for
                                                team and two weeks after the team
                                                                                             upcoming events or important
                                                secured a new catering trailer.
  Middle East                                                                                news items to include in News for
                                                The fires started on 30 November within      Members. If you have an event
  Humanitarian Appeal                           the Murray Sunset National Park, just        coming up that you think might be
  Australian Red Cross launched an              north of Ouyen. The Red Cross                of interest to other members,
  appeal in January for funds to support        Emergency Service Catering team was          please contact your membership
  thousands affected by conflict in the         activated on the evening of the fires.       officer.
  Middle East. Donations will contribute        They provided meals and refreshments
  to the International Committee of the         to hundreds of fire fighters. The team
  Red Cross for the provision of                was led very capably by Emergency
  emergency assistance on behalf of             Services Liaison Officer Vicki Thompson
  victims of armed conflict; supporting         and Catering Officer Judy Stewart.
  people who have had to leave their            The team worked many long hours from
  homes; wounded, sick and other                when they were activated on the
  vulnerable people; and sending                Thursday evening until Sunday afternoon.
  specialist aid workers to assist the
  Red Cross response. More information          Elegant tea a
  is available at www.redcross.org.au.          fundraising success
  Practice run prepares                         Congratulations to the Mansfield Unit
                                                from region 23. Their recent Afternoon
  for real thing                                Tea of Elegance was a sell out with more
  Emergency services volunteers in the          than 80 people attending and $1100
  Mildura Division West had their skills        raised for Red Cross services. Thanks to
  put to the test recently with lightning       all members who held fundraising
  sparking a number of fires within the         activities prior to and during the festive
  area. In a strange twist of fate, the fires   season. Your dedication is appreciated.




  Thank you                                     I have come to know over the years was
                                                overwhelming. I feel privileged to have

  everyone                                      known so many wonderful people.
                                                My Red Cross rose is now planted in
  Thank you to each and every one of            the enormous pot and growing well,
  you for the warm wishes, flowers and          I am not an expert gardener but am told
  presents that I received on my                ‘you can’t kill a rose’ (fingers crossed).
  retirement. I was trying to write to each     Hopefully I will always have it with me to
  person, unit and group individually but       remind me of my years with the
  the task became enormous.                     members of Red Cross.
  The sentiments expressed by so                Warmest regards
  many friends and colleagues that              Nola Peacock




 Thanks
                                                When I need help (so many times) to
                                                my hospital outpatient treatments, who
                                                                                             Contact:
                                                takes me and brings me home? ‘The
                                                Red Cross.’                                  Red Cross
 Dear friends,
                                                                                             23–47 Villiers Street
 Where do I begin? Just saying thank            Many, many years ago, I remember
                                                                                             North Melbourne VIC 3051
 you is not in any way letting you know         my Dad telling me how wonderful you
                                                all were to the men in the war zone.         vicmembers@redcross.org.au
 how I feel. Your help is so very much                                                       www.redcross.org.au
 appreciated by me and my family.               So once more, thank you.
                                                                                             Tel: 03 8327 7700
 Each morning I am called by phone; a           Yours most sincerely,                        Fax: 03 8327 7900
 cheerful voice wishing me a happy day.         M. Wilson (Peggie)