Nerang RSL and Memorial Club would like to congratulate member, Neville Thomas, who was named Sports Person of the Year for 2018 at the club’s AGM held on Sunday 17th February.
Neville, a long time member of Nerang RSL Social Golf Club, regularly volunteers his time to the Golf Club and is an all round supporter of Nerang RSL.
Nerang RSL Social Golf Club secretary and treasurer, Ben Hides, said Neville was nominated by the Social Golf Club for his display of sportsmanship, hard work and ongoing involvement,
and is a well-deserving recipient of Sports Person of the Year for 2018.
“If I were to go back on previous years, I could give you lots of amazing stuff Nev has done for us but when focusing on 2018, there’s definitely a few things that stand out and these
were included in Neville’s nomination for Sports Person of the Year,” he said.
“Neville volunteers his own time at each game, and afterwards, as the club’s handicapper which can often be time consuming. He keeps track of everyone’s scores and supplies his own books, folders and pens to get the job done without complaint…except of those he receives from players who get their handicap cut down when they come in with a win and pro-like scoring. It’s all in jest though and he cops it on the chin with a grin.
“Neville also assists Stretch and I by organising golfers into teams and their carts, and helps advise golfers of the rules of the game-play for the day. He has a great knowledge of the game and its official rules so depending on what games we play and where necessary, he helps the club by fixing score cards after games to ensure the correct scores are given dependent on handicaps and how hard the hole is ranked on that course.”
And it’s not just the organisational side of the game that he has a handle on, but also the green itself. Neville never missed a game in 2018 and was awarded two trophies at the Golf Club’s end of year presentations.
“Neville didn’t miss one game in 2018, attended our end of year trip away and was awarded two trophies, one for the most points scored over the year for A Grade and another for the most ‘longest drives’ recorded in 2018, at our end of year presentations which are scored and decided by the club president,” said Ben.
“These are just some of the fantastic aspects that make Neville a well-deserving recipient of this award. Neville is a great golfer, fantastic guy and a supporter of both the Social Golf Club and Nerang RSL and we’re very grateful for all he does, and the Social Golf Club is proud to see Nev named as Sports Person of the Year for 2018.”
Nerang RSL would also like to congratulate Sylvia Cope who was nominated by the Nerang RSL Swimming Club for her swimming achievements, determination and spirit as well as senior coordinator and foundation member of the Nerang RSL Netball Club, Eden Crabtree, who was nominated for her loyalty, commitment and dedication to coaching, playing and umpiring at Nerang RSL Netball Club.
A passion for food and crafting ‘delicious dishes’ is what inspired Nerang RSL and Memorial Club’s Anastasia Romans (Ana) to pursue a career within the kitchen, and last month
the budding chef ’s dreams became a reality, as she completed her full-time apprenticeship in Commercial Cookery.
As the first ever apprentice to complete the extensive course at Nerang RSL, Ana will be recognised at the upcoming International Women’s Day morning tea at the Club.
Ana first stepped foot into the Nerang RSL five years ago, as a School Based Trainee ready to study a Certificate III in Hospitality, but she soon realised that ‘the kitchen’ was calling her name and she couldn’t ignore her prevailing passion for food – so she made the switch to study Certificate III in Commercial Cookery!
In addition to her one-day a week work place commitment at the club, Ana started picking up extra shifts in the kitchen and with her passion growing by the day – she took the leap as a
full-time apprentice in 2016.
The long hours of study and hard work has certainly paid off for Ana, and she’s ecstatic to have reached the special milestone while also feeling humbled by the support of the Nerang RSL.
‘After three years of study and work, I’m very happy to have completed my apprenticeship and its been great to have the support of Nerang RSL ever since stepping through the doors of the club five years ago,” she said.
“I love being part of a team which is genuinely interested in helping me progress my passion and achieve my goals. It has made for a very positive environment, and, a workplace that I was excited to come back to each shift.
“I feel very lucky to have been guided by Nerang RSL Head Chef, Jason Blond, who has played a large part in my journey at the club. Jason has been extremely supportive and I’ve been able to ask questions, gain insight and learn first-hand from an established chef who believes in my passion and has pushed me to chase my dreams.
“I’m very thankful for this opportunity and look forward to celebrating my apprenticeship with the team at the presentation morning that the club is putting on for me on International Women’s Day.”
Ana said she has enjoyed every moment of her apprenticeship, from the peaks to the challenges, and is excited for what the future holds.
“Whether learning about standards of cookery and hygiene to applying my learning from my book studies and implementing my skill set when working at the club, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my experience,” she said.
“What stood out to me was the ability to be hands on throughout my apprenticeship. Jason frequently asked me to come up with dishes and provide input into the menu which gave me the opportunity to learn how to make a range of new dishes and gain greater knowledge about different foods.
“My apprenticeship has reinforced my passion for food and cooking and it’s a fantastic feeling to know my hard work has paid off. This qualification has put me in good stead to progress my career, chase opportunities, continue learning and even open up doors to travel which is definitely on my bucket list.”
Nerang RSL Head Chef, Jason Blond, said he’s very humbled by Ana’s display of passion and dedication and is proud to see her accomplish the milestone.
“Ana’s become a part of the Nerang RSL family so it’s very rewarding to see her reach this milestone and I feel humbled to have played a part in guiding and teaching her throughout
her journey to completing her apprenticeship,” he said.
“Ana’s been able to get involved in many opportunities as part of her apprenticeship at Nerang RSL that other places often don’t offer. She’s been very proactive in creating dishes for our menu and providing input and suggestions across the club which is great to see.”
Having been in the industry for 29 years himself, Jason said it’s exciting to know there are budding chefs like Ana who want to learn and make their mark within the industry.
“A lot of apprentices often come and go, so it’s one thing to get individuals to start apprenticeships but another to see them complete it. It’s a tough industry with long hours so you need to be passionate, dedicated and motivated and throughout her apprenticeship, Ana has shown she’s the making of all these aspects,” he said.
“What makes the occasion even more special is that Ana is the first female apprentice through Nerang RSL to complete a Certificate III in Commercial Cookery at our club, so we are very proud of her and look forward to putting on an appreciation morning and presentation to celebrate her achievement.”
Nerang RSL General Manager, Andrew McInnes, said the club has a focus on fostering the development of trainees and apprentices alike and is pleased to have Ana continue as part of the team.
“We put a lot of focus on culture and long-term vision at Nerang RSL and strive to put the time and effort into facilitating opportunities that help individuals who want to learn and pursue their passion,” he said.
“Nerang RSL is very proud of Ana and being one of the most successful apprentices to come through our club, I have no doubt she will continue to succeed, set an example and serve as an invaluable asset to Nerang RSL.”
It was the warm weather, sunny skies and opportunity for a better lifestyle that encouraged Nerang RSL and Memorial Club member, Matt Ford, to make the move from the United Kingdom to the ‘land down under,’ six years ago. Calling the Coast his new home, Matt has become a regular face of Nerang RSL, and our resident car mechanic and we’re delighted to profile him in this month’s edition of The Stentorian.
Matt first stepped through the doors of Nerang RSL four years ago, when he was introduced to the club through his partner, Amy, and her family. Since then Matt has become involved in many aspects across our club.
“I was thrilled to have been introduced to a place like Nerang RSL, it’s a fantastic club with great members and friendly staff who are always up for a chat,” said Matt.
“I really enjoy being part of the Nerang RSL community and lending a hand wherever I can. Amy’s parents, Lyn and Guy, own Gala Promotions which does some promotional work
at the club, so that’s how I came across it and ever since, I’ve been able to get involved in hosting raffles and gaming promotions during the week and I’ve really come to know fellow members and staff along the way.”
When he’s not hosting raffles and promotions around the club, or getting out in the sunshine to coach kids’ soccer, Matt is working his magic on cars across the Coast – through his locally run mobile mechanic business, Quik Serve Mobile Mechanic.
“I started my business about two years ago and many of the staff members at the club found out and have been very supportive and keen to use my services, which is a great feeling,” said Matt.
“My customer base spans across the Coast but more often than not, you’ll find me parked in the Club’s car park!”
When asked what he most looks forward to after a hard days work, Matt says a visit to the RSL is always welcomed.
“The members and staff members are what truly make the club such a special place. Since day one, I’ve felt very welcomed and there’s always something happening at
the club whether it’s live music, games and promotions, or entertainment which makes for a fantastic atmosphere,” he said.
“Not to mention the club’s pizzas and chicken wings… I really enjoy those too,” he laughed.
For more information on Quik Serve Mobile Mechanic click www.facebook.com/QuikServes/
The Nerang RSL Sub Branch has expanded its welfare services, on the back of a grant from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Veteran and Community Grants Program, and welcomed a new set of wheels!
The Nerang RSL Sub Branch van, an LDV G10 People Mover, is equipped with nine seats and a spacious interior for extra ease and comfort for its guests.
Nerang RSL Sub Branch Secretary, David Barnicoat, says the Sub Branch is extremely grateful for the vehicle which will be used to assist veterans and their families.
“The Sub Branch is very thankful for the grant received which has greatly assisted us in the purchase of this new vehicle and has enabled the Sub Branch to expand our services for veterans and the local community,” said David.
“The vehicle is used to assist veterans who might require some additional help or don’t have access to the required facilities to get to places they need to be.
“The van is operated by our volunteers at the Sub Branch who pick up and drop off those who require transport, whether it is for meetings that our Sub Branch members might need to attend, or doctor’s appointments and general transportation.”
David says the vehicle is a welcomed addition to the Sub Branch, particularly with the new year ahead and plans for the Sub Branch to expand its support network.
“One of the key objectives of the Sub Branch is to continue to support veterans and their families and deliver on our commitments, while also being in a position to help out further in the community.
“The volunteers at the Sub Branch look forward to helping out where needed and having a chat along the way to those who use the service.”
For more information, please contact the Sub Branch at Nerang RSL.
Get To Know The Man Behind The Legend, held at the Nerang RSL and Memorial Club in support of the Men of League Foundation, will return next month to see the local community gather with mateship and compassion over a BBQ, bevvies and all things footy!
The Men of League Foundation provides support to those involved in the mighty game of Rugby League at any level. Whether players, coaches and referee officials or administrators, club volunteers and beyond, the foundation provides assistance to those who have fallen on challenging times and require support from their own.
Nerang RSL and Memorial Club has been involved with the foundation for over six years and RSL Board Member – and footy fanatic, coach of league referees and the night’s official emcee – Lloyd Evans, says Nerang RSL is pleased to continue supporting the initiative.
“Within Rugby League or any part of the community, there is always going to be someone who is facing a hard time and requires help whether financial, emotional, medical or another type of assistance,” said Lloyd.
“Nerang RSL is honoured to be able to do its part in supporting fantastic initiatives like Men of League so that the foundation can continue to help change lives.
“To date Nerang RSL has donated around $30,000 through its Punters’ Club, footy tipping, the NRL Calcutta, raffles and donations raised at our annual Men of League nights.
“It’s always humbling to see the local community gather with a sense of mateship and teamwork, two pillars the game has been built on, and I have no doubt they will again for what will be Nerang RSL’s seventh season supporting the foundation.”
The night has previously attracted footy stars including Tommy Raudonikis OAM, Ben Hannant and Chris Lawler and this year will see ex Kangaroos and Manly Sea Eagles player and past coach of South Sydney Rabbitohs, Steve Martin, take to the microphone.
Aptly named ‘Get To Know The Man Behind The Legend,’ Lloyd says the event allows the community to do just that, with plenty of snags and bevvies to go around.
“The purpose of Nerang RSL’s Get To Know The Man Behind The Legend is to raise a dollar for Men of League in a way that the community can enjoy themselves,” said Lloyd.
“People generally have an idea of what players have done throughout their career and what they’ve achieved, but often times we don’t know how they got there, about their families or events that made them who they are today.
“It’s an opportunity to get to know the player beyond the footy field and in the past our speakers have really opened up and we’ve been able to learn so much about them. It’s great to see the players often stick around to chat to the community and mingle with the members over a BBQ put on by the RSL.
“I encourage the community to come along to the next event and everyone is welcome whether Nerang RSL members, footy fanatics, families or kids! It’s a great night and what makes it even better is that it’s all in support of a fantastic cause.”
For further information on the Men of League Foundation, visit www.menofleague.com
What brought you to the RSL and what is involved in your role?
“I was looking for something new and a bit of diversity in my role so I decided to apply at the club and have been here for nearly two years now. I started out on the floor and have recently been promoted to Senior Steward at Gallipoli which I’m really enjoying. Some of my tasks within my role include the day to day running of the restaurant, making sure staff are happy and ensuring our customers are having a good experience. My grandfather was the president of the Sub Branch and my sister worked at the club before going on maternity leave so I’ve always known about Nerang RSL and I feel very honoured to now also be involved at the club.”
What do you most enjoy about your role and what is something you look forward to?
“I enjoy being able to walk around and interact with members and guests and there’s always something to do at the RSL which keeps me busy. I’m really looking forward to the learning opportunities that will come from being promoted to a Senior Steward and am also quite excited about the upcoming renovations for Nerang RSL.”
What is your ‘go to’ wine and meal on the menu?
“The Gallipoli Beef Burger is definitely a great option and if I were to recommend a wine, it would be the Amisfield Pinot Noir.”
What is something you’ve learnt along the way at Nerang RSL?
“Nerang RSL is a very supportive environment and there are often numerous training sessions offered to staff so that we can continue to learn in our roles. Through some of these training sessions, I’ve been able to gain a lot of insight into the array of wines and the different products we offer at the club. Andrew McInnes has also taught me a lot which I really appreciate because it’s a great feeling knowing that you have the support of your employer.”
What do you like to do in your spare time?
“You’ll usually find me at the gym, the beach or relaxing with my partner.”
Nerang RSL’s official Pig Out Pie Eating Contest made its debut over the Australia Day weekend and local pie fanatic, Chad ‘Froman’ Jones, put on a champion show to secure the top spot in the contest, now set to be held annually at the club.
The competition saw five entrants battle it out to see who could consume six pies or be the first to finish all six of their pies – in just six minutes.
With a crowd of onlookers and supporters, pies were demolished by the minute and it was Chad, 26, who managed to scoff all six pies in an astounding two minutes and 13 seconds – with room for dessert afterward.
Chad, who has competed in a number of eating competitions across the country, says he couldn’t look past the opportunity to get involved in Nerang RSL’s Pig Out Pie Eating Contest.
“My friends tagged me in a post for the Pig Out Pie Eating Contest on Facebook so I messaged Ben at the RSL to confirm there was a place in the contest and what the rules were and it went from there,” he said.
“I went into the contest feeling quite confident and had done a couple of practice runs in the lead-up, which involved timing myself and trialing different techniques so that I could stick to the fastest tactic for the contest.
“I was focussed on eating the pies as fast as I could and although they were quite hot, I didn’t let it phase me and kept on powering through. Capacity wise it was easy and I ended up having dessert afterward,” he laughed.
Chad has made history as Nerang RSL’s first Pig Out Pie Eating Contest winner and for his champion efforts on the day, the RSL’s pie of the day for the next year has been named ‘Froman Special Pie Of The Day.’
“It is pretty awesome to have a pie named after me. I’ve won a few eating competitions before, but I’ve never had food named after me,” said Chad.
“Nerang RSL’s Pig Out Pie Eating Contest is my favourite eating contest I’ve done so far because the crowd was like no other. Everyone was cheering us on and it was a really great atmosphere to be part of.
“I’m stoked to be the first official Pig Out Pie Eating Contest winner and I’ll absolutely be back next year!”
Keeping fit, healthy and getting involved in sporting events across the community is one way Nerang RSL and Memorial Club Sub Branch member, Sean De Gelder, now likes to spend his days. Often waking up at the crack of dawn to tackle his fitness goals, Sean has become involved in numerous triathlons, bike rides, and swimming carnivals and we’re delighted to profile the ex-serviceman, who is using his experiences to positively influence and encourage fellow veterans, in this edition of The Stentorian.
A veteran of International Force East Timor (INTERFET) and serving in 1999, 2006 and 2010, Sean was part of the multinational force which was formed to address the declining security and humanitarian state in East Timor. Following his time in the Defence Force, Sean began to experience the challenging effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and was introduced to the Veteran Health Association (VHA) which he says assisted him greatly, and introduced him to the Sub Branch at Nerang RSL.
“I’m very thankful for the support I’ve received from the VHA and the gents at the Sub Branch and from the RSL itself, it has definitely made an impact on my life for the better,” said Sean.
“I know how exercise can assist with emotional health and I wanted to get into fitness so after speaking with the Sub Branch, they went out of their way to help me achieve that. I was keen to get involved in events like triathlons and before I knew it, the Sub Branch guys were going into sporting stores and speaking with other triathletes to put me in touch with the right people.
“It was really encouraging and it’s a nice feeling to know there are places in the community like Nerang RSL and the Sub Branch that want to help and provide support.”
On the back of a sponsorship from the Nerang RSL, Sean kicked off 2019 competing in the Queensland Triathlon Series. He pushed through a grueling 1.5km swim, 40km bike ride and a 10km run to claim a very commended 6th place!
“Sporting events can be quite expensive to compete in so I’m extremely thankful to the Nerang RSL for sponsoring my involvement in the Queensland Triathlon Series. I was able to purchase a bike and a custom made competition suit with the Club’s logo on it – that I wore with great pride,” said Sean.
“I did quite a bit of swimming and bike riding to prepare for the event and I’m generally happy with placing 6th in the Olympic distance category. Being my first Olympic distance triathlon, I was honestly just happy I was able to finish the event,” he laughed.
As part of his involvement in the Queensland Triathlon Series, Sean also represented PTSD Resurrected which runs a Reboot Combat Recovery course providing help for service members, first responders and their families.
Since graduating from the course alongside his wife, Leanne, Sean has become a mentor for Reboot and says the course has helped him manage the effects of PTSD and anxiety.
“The Reboot course, in addition to my own spiritual healing and church community, has helped me very much in the challenges I’ve faced with PTSD and anxiety,” said Sean.
“I completed the Reboot course at the start of 2018 and it was an experience that helped both Leanne and myself understand PTSD and anxiety, and ultimately what we were going through.
“I’m looking forward to being a mentor. I believe veterans that have experienced, or currently experience PTSD are often some of the best at helping others because they have a personal understanding and can share their experiences.”
Since becoming involved and receiving support from organisations and groups across the local community, Sean has referred a number of fellow veterans to these groups and says through also focusing on activities he enjoys, such as triathlons, he hopes to encourage others to step into something they enjoy.
“For me, competing in events like triathlons gives me something to focus on and look forward to. I enjoy putting my energy into setting fitness goals and training to achieve them, and it helps me maintain a healthy diet along the way too,” said Sean.
“I hope to compete in a few more triathlons this year, but I’m currently preparing for a swimming carnival in February and another in March as part of the Australian Imperial Forces. The carnival will be held in Melbourne and was originally formed for wounded veterans that returned from WW1 to help with their rehabilitation. All RSLs across Australia can get involved and it’s a great day and a fantastic opportunity to meet fellow veterans.
“I’ve found something I really enjoy doing and hope to encourage fellow veterans to do the same, whether it’s a new activity you might be interested in or a hobby you did previously that you enjoyed.
“Places like the Sub Branch at Nerang RSL are great environments to meet other veterans that you might share a similar interest with, or you could meet someone who can connect you with a contact. It’s great to have the support of Nerang RSL and the gents at the Sub Branch because it shows that there are people out there who care and it’s great to have that base support…Nerang RSL and Memorial Club is like no other.”
From a medic in the Navy and an avid rugby player, this month’s member in the spotlight knows a thing or two about working as a team, and the mateship that goes with it. That’s one of the reasons he first joined the Nerang RSL and we’re now delighted to share his story – meet, Mr. Bob Graham!
Since joining the Nerang RSL in 2011, Bob has become a familiar face to many – thanks to his involvement across the club in selling raffles for the Vietnam Veterans of Australia Association, maintaining the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Garden and simply, pulling up a pew in the #4211SportzBar.
Although a fan of the club’s hot chicken wings coupled with the perfect red, Bob says he was first drawn to the Nerang RSL for its sense of comradery and mateship in the community.
“I joined the Navy in 1968 as a medic onboard HMAS Moresby, which circumnavigated Australia doing survey work before traveling to Singapore and Jakarta,” he said.
“There was a very special bond formed with fellow military servicemen and servicewomen and it’s nice to be able to visit communities like Nerang RSL and Memorial Club to replicate that feeling.
“As part of my time in the Navy, I was also a member of the Navy Colts Under 21’s rugby team, which was great fun. If I had duty on the weekends on the base and had to play rugby that day, I would be assigned to the team coach as my duty, which meant I got to play rugby.
“The mateship I experienced – whether it was onboard or on the footy field, is something I’ll never forget and it’s that same sense of spirit I feel, whenever I walk into the Nerang RSL.”
Bob also dedicated twenty-five years to the Department of Civil Aviation where he was a flight service officer and air traffic controller in various locations across Australia, before finishing his working life on the Gold Coast as a Surfside Bus Driver.
And since joining the Nerang RSL, Bob has become involved in regular volunteer work at the club and you’ll often find him selling meat raffle tickets or maintaining the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Garden.
“I was truly honoured to have been nominated as caretaker of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Garden,” he said.
“I believe it’s a sign of respect to those who passed or didn’t return from service, to ensure the memorial gardens are well maintained. It’s a place of reflection and remembrance, so I take pride in keeping the gardens in shape, whether it be watering them or completing general maintenance as required.
“When I’m not caretaking, I sell meat raffles as part of the Vietnam Veterans of Australia Association to support different functions and community groups.
“I do this alongside three of my mates who are also ex-servicemen and we really enjoy the opportunity to get involved. There’s a lot of banter and comradery between us too! The Nerang RSL is certainly a special place and I simply couldn’t pick a better community to be part of.”
What brought you to the Nerang RSL and what is your role?
“I handed my application into the club and it progressed from there. I started in February in the bar before becoming a glassy for the #4211SportzBar. I now work throughout the #4211SportzBar with some of my tasks including bartending and helping out with the TAB betting.”
What is something you most enjoy about your role?
“I love that it keeps me busy! I really enjoyed working on ANZAC Day because there were so many people who came to the service and to the club across the day. Melbourne Cup was also a great event to work at because everyone got dressed up, had a bit of fun and it was a great atmosphere overall.”
What is something you would like to learn, or are looking forward to across your time at Nerang RSL?
“I really enjoy working at Nerang RSL – the staff and members are fantastic. I would love to learn a range of aspects across each department and think the administration and promotions departments would be quite interesting.”
Are you involved in any other aspects of the club?
“I’ve been involved in Nerang RSL Netball Club for about six months. A few of the staff members at Nerang RSL encouraged me to join, so I did and currently play in an all-girls team and a mixed team. I really enjoy the sport and played in high school, so it’s great to be able to continue to play.”
In your spare time, what is something you like to do?
“I love to travel and have recently returned from Vanuatu, with a trip to Bali coming up in two months time. I’d also really like to visit Ireland just so I can see how they react to my name.”
How did you get involved with Nerang RSL?
“My sister-in-law was a cashier at the RSL and mentioned to me that they needed staff. I had worked in a casino prior, so I thought it was a perfect fit and decided to apply – I’ve been working at Nerang RSL for 18 years now.”
Can you share a little about your roles?
In my role as a cashier, I handle payouts and help guests within the Gaming lounge. I’ve also been involved in the administration side of things at the Club for about a year now, which I’m really enjoying. One day a week I help the administration team with aspects like membership mail outs, birthdays, welcoming letters for new members, and sending out ‘surprise and delight’ rewards bonuses to our members.”
What do you most enjoy about working at the RSL?
“I love the members! I get to meet many of our older guests and love to have a chat with them when they visit the Gaming Lounge. Having been at the Club for 18 years now, I’ve also worked alongside many other long-standing staff members who I’ve built great friendships with.”
Outside of your time at Nerang RSL, what is something you’d likely be doing?
“Being a professional tennis supporter! My son was a national level tennis player – and is now a professional coach – so I’ve always been very involved in the tennis world in terms of taking my son to training, travelling for tournaments and ultimately supporting his endeavors. I’m ecstatic to still be involved as I got my niece into tennis, so I still get to be the ‘tennis taxi’ and support her and take her to weekend tournaments too. I wouldn’t change a thing because I love being able to see the kids develop and grow doing something they love, in such a great environment.”
What is one of your highlights across your time working at Nerang RSL?
“Over my 18 years, I think the team at Nerang RSL has mastered being BUSY! We’ve become accustomed to the year-round busy schedule at Nerang RSL and I personally love that it keeps me on my toes. I also really enjoy the vibe that our big events bring and find it humbling to watch our services, such as our ANZAC Day proceedings grow year upon year.”
‘A man of many talents’ – that’s how most people describe Nerang RSL’s member of the month, Ben Samin.
Whether you’ve seen him performing with the globally renowned band Madison Kat, coaching champion martial artists, or working behind the scenes at one of Nerang RSL’s reputable services – Ben’s ‘community spirit’ is one of his most notable traits.
With a background in architectural and engineer model making, Ben joined Nerang RSL more than a decade ago and after taking on several different roles across the Club, is now a regarded board member.
Ben first joined the Nerang RSL after a stint with his popular band Madison Kat – first known as the ‘Gold Coasters’ – when he travelled with the American Army to Vietnam to provide some respite for soldiers.
“The 1970s were a standout year for our family-run show band. My brothers and I were able to travel to Vietnam to perform and provide a bit of Christmas fun and respite to the soldiers, at a time when they needed it most,” he said.
“We spent three months in Vietnam and it was a great feeling to see the effect music, and some extra support, could have on the soldiers and I still to this day remember the smiles on their faces. It’s an experience that I’ll never forget and that feeling of providing mateship and support is mirrored at the Nerang RSL and it’s one of the reasons I was keen to get involved in the Club.”
Fifty years on and Madison Kat now performs as a third-generation band. Ben’s sons and nephew have all embraced the band and continue to rock it out weekly.
However music isn’t the only thing Ben holds close to his heart, but also Martial Arts. He’s a local coach at Nerang PCYC and the Australasian Martial Art Studies (AMAS) Principal. Ben was also chosen by late Master of Bu Di Zhen Kung Fu to re-write family history and guide future directions of Bu Di Zhen Kung Fu.
“I really enjoy teaching martial arts and guiding my students to set and reach goals in the sport,” he said.
“I’ve taught 24 Australian Champions and recently returned from Japan where one of my students came second in the Open Championship’s. Nothing beats that feeling of seeing students compete and have ‘that moment’ when they realise their hard work is paying off – whether in training or on the world stage – it’s a large part of why I do what I do.
“We often sell raffle tickets at Nerang RSL to raise money for our students to compete in tournaments and competitions across the globe, so it’s great to also have the support of the community.”
Ben says he’s very humbled to be part of the Nerang RSL community and since joining the RSL Board over six years ago, continues to enjoy the opportunities it brings.
“I’ve really enjoyed being able to work alongside the team on the RSL Board and get involved in our local community,” said Ben.
“It’s very busy and there’s always something to do, whether helping to organise one of our many services like Remembrance and ANZAC Day or attending meetings and helping out with community projects, but I wouldn’t change it.
“It’s a nice feeling to know I’m doing my part to help out across the community and I’ve met so many great people in the process.”