For Sam, community is like a footy club

Wednesday 8 November, 2017

Sam Green has only lived in Tatura for 15 years, so as the saying goes, he’s not quite qualified to call himself “a local”. However Tatura certainly knows Sam as someone pretty essential to this tight-knit community.

Sam can’t walk down the town’s main strip, Hogan St, without a dozen or more “G’days” from those who know him through the footy-netball club, the hundreds of kids who’ve enjoyed Auskick, work with Moyola Aged Care’s Board of Directors, helping to run Generations Church, his job with Goulburn-Murray Water (GMW) and other community involvement over the years.

“My wife Sue sometimes says to me, ‘Is there anyone you don’t know in Tatura’?” Sam said with a laugh.

“I admit it’s a bit like that. But I like knowing so many of my neighbours – this is a great town where you can get involved in the community and get a lot of personal satisfaction from that involvement.”

Sam wears many hats around Tatura.

Like many parents, much of his community involvement has stemmed from the sport and school activities of his four kids, now ranging in age from twin boys, 14, to a third boy at 15 and a daughter, aged 17. So Sam’s involvement includes years of service on the Tatura Primary School Council when his teenage children were younger and his current Secretary role with Tatura Football-Netball Club.

“I still run around myself as a player in Reserves,” Sam said. “But with my kids, I’m encouraging them to volunteer as well as play because that’s just what you do when you’re a part of a club.”

Unlike many, however, Sam’s work for Tatura extends beyond family commitments. For example, he has no particular personal experience or professional qualifications for those transitioning into a nursing home, affected by the loss of a life partner, suffering from dementia or needing palliative care to manage their end of life.

“I have a Masters in Engineering,” Sam said. “That may not seem very helpful when it comes to assisting our elderly and infirm but at Moyola Aged Care we’re providing care for our most vulnerable and I’m proud to volunteer my time to that.

“However what I have found is the skills I’ve developed through work at GMW are considerable and transferable. I can bring skills like financial control, budgeting, asset management and project management to the board.”

Sam regards Goulburn Murray Water (GMW), where he began his working career as a graduate engineer, as an organisation that has a particular built-in obligation to assist where it can in the community.

“GMW and our services are quite important to the rural people and places we serve and you know, we need to remember that it’s those communities who pay our wages,” Sam said.

“So we may have 9-to-5 jobs in a lot of cases but it is important how we are perceived in the community. I find that people really appreciate the extra skills we can bring to community organisations and that might mean a few meetings and fundraisers outside of work.”

Sam credits mentors like Terry Court, Carl Walters and Dennis Flett, who he’s known through GMW and the footy club, with setting fine examples on blending community service with work.

He said Tatura is particularly fortunate in having people with valuable skills to assist as volunteers. These include scientists, senior managers, finance experts and others who work for major organisations like Tatura Milk, Unilever, the Ferguson Road research farm (DEDJTR), a strong contingent of teaching staff and, of course, the main office of GMW.

“But you know, anyone can help in their community with whatever skills you may have, it’s still a bit like a footy club,” Sam said.

“Like I said, you volunteer as well as play. That’s what you do when you’re a part of a community.”