LONG time RSL stalwart, Barry Whiteman has been rewarded for years of service, receiving the Milne-Wood medal for 2017.
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Barry along with wife Trish recently travelled to Sydney for the award ceremony at RSL LifeCare in Narrabeen.
“It is a great honour to have been selected as the recipient this year, I wish to thank the Board and Executive RSL LifeCare for this exceptional award,” Barry said.
Since moving to Tea Gardens 17 years ago, Barry has devoted much of his life to helping veterans and volunteering his time and efforts to the aged care facility, Peter Sinclair Gardens in Hawks Nest.
Back in 2002, Myall Lodge as it was then called, had just 10 beds.
Over the years more beds were added but that also meant changes to the way the operation functioned.
“New health regulations were introduced and Ted Mowbray was not allowed to supply fresh fish and chickens sourced by myself from donations by golf club members, or the fruit and vegetables supplied by local residents from their home gardens,” Barry said.
“The residents were devastated, ‘What about our fish and chooks?’ they wanted to know.
In 2012, RSL LifeCare sought to change the name from Myall Lodge and Barry Whiteman was tasked with approaching good friend Rear Admiral Peter Sinclair to ask his approval for the renaming.
Peter’s response, “What on a minute, they usually do this when you pass on.”
But of course Peter accepted the proposal and today Peter Sinclair Gardens, with more than 60 beds is now affectionately known as Pete’s place.
“My service as Liaison Officer has been the most rewarding and humbling experience of my lifetime,” Barry said.
While Barry Whiteman had many others to thank for their support, he made special mention of his wife of 55 years, Trish.
“The love of my life has supported me with her ideas and many hours of typing and editing my correspondence, one of her most famous quotes “You can’t say that” has always been valued with appreciation and love.”
By Margie TIERNEY