With a spirit of kindness and generosity, Woodlands Park resident Martin Pater wears many hats. When he moved to the village, he immediately immersed himself in the community spirit. As chair of the social committee, Martin is giving plenty back to his retirement community. And he’s also involved in other village committees and volunteer services. But Martin doesn’t stop within the bounds of Woodlands Park. He’s also helping the local Rotary Club, supporting community initiatives with a global impact.
From village happy hour on Fridays to expeditions to the historical gold mining town of Walhalla in Victoria. It’s clear Martin always has an event, activity, raffle or fundraising initiative on the go.
‘I like to keep busy, and I try to keep everybody else busy and on track, too,’ Martin laughs. ‘We get as many as 180 people coming along to the events, which are often held in the village community centre, so it’s no small feat.’
‘I enjoy doing things for other people. It makes me happy knowing I can make other people happy. So it’s a win-win.’
With an encouraging nature and a giving spirit, Martin encourages as many members of the village to attend throughout the year. The social committee events bring both the enjoyment of the activity but also a sense of togetherness to the community. And the events help raise enough funds to continue holding them.
‘For events like our live 50s and 60s music nights or masquerade evenings, we’ll hold a raffle. Some of the proceeds go to the social club, and some go to the village,’ Martin says. ‘For Easter, we’ll likely be holding a hamper raffle.’
While Martin loves volunteering in the village community, his involvement with the local Rotary Club is arguably some of his most important work to date.
Rotary’s clean water initiative provides water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) programs. Rotary’s people of action mobilise resources, form partnerships, and invest in infrastructure and training to bring long-term change.
‘We’ve implemented a water filtering system to help clean the water for children living in third-world countries,’ Martin explains. ‘The system produces a thousand litres of safe drinking water every hour. It’s supporting countries like the Philippines, Indonesia, and India. Before, the water was so dirty the kids would be prone to diarrhea and diphtheria. Now they’re living healthier lives with clean water.’
With Martin’s support, the local Rotary Club helped fit clean water systems for 120 schools in 2019 alone.
Already heavily involved in his community, Martin uses his limited spare time to volunteer as a driver for the City of Casey. As a driver, he helps his neighbours reach their appointments and get safely home again. Martin does all this because he enjoys helping others which, in a village like Woodlands Park, is invaluable.
‘I enjoy doing things for other people. It makes me happy knowing I can make other people happy. So it’s a win-win!’ Martin says.
And what does being a good neighbour mean to Martin?
‘Everyone needs a bit of help from time to time. Not everybody’s as healthy and able as me, so I love to help. It’s just something I’ve done for a very long time. That’s just me, I guess.’
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