NERANG RSL MONTHLY STENTORIAN

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Meet Member Bob Graham

Nerang RSL Member Bob Graham

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.”

Meet Staff Member Ireland

Ireland Isbister Gold CoastWhat 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.”

Meet Staff Member Lisa Quigan

Lisa Quigan Nerang RSL Staff MemberHow 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.”

Ben

‘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.”

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