This is the speech I made, tried to make it a bit different and about me as a person.
Present employment: Probation & Parole Officer (Compliance) until 19 October 2009 when I cease my Long Service Leave at half pay and officially retire.
Ambitions: To be Australia’s ‘Gardener of the Year’.
Regrets: Not a lot.
Hopes: To have a long happy and healthy retirement, see my son ‘Scott’ walk again and having ‘grand-children’ not just ‘grand-dogs’.
Lucky: To have had two jobs in 43 years that I have really enjoyed and have been fortunate to have had the best workmates one could ask for I put Katrina into the special mention basket, what a lovely all round person she is, Katrina congratulations on your pregnancy, if it’s a boy please don’t call him Damien or Jason.
Best moments: Scott winning gold in the 2007 ‘World Disabled Water Ski Championships’ and the weekend we open our garden to the public through ‘Australia’s Open Garden Scheme’.
Worst moments: Obviously Scott’s accident and the fact that I think about it everyday. The Introduction of IOMS, and having to reapply for my job last year.
Achievement: Bringing up two great well adjusted sons (who are here with their partners, Fabienne and Eliza, who both give me great pride and joy, a good marriage, reaching the rank of RAAF Warrant Officer and believing I may have changed some lives in Cleveland through my work.
Marriage: Happily to Judy for 40 years on 5th October 2008.
Health: Excellent, never hospitalised, fingers crossed.
Hobby/ fixation/ passion: This may surprise you; it’s Garden, Garden and more Garden, Garden photography and wanting to re-start fishing.
Money: Cannot resist buying plants, all my $ $ goes into the garden.
Worst Insult: “and you wear your pants too high” this was an offenders last words to me leaving the office after to say the very least an unproductive interview.
Meaning of life: When visiting Amberley RAAF base a couple of weeks ago Fabienne said to me after watching the graduation parade “now I know why you are always pulling your pants up”.
Biggest challenges: trying to motivate some of the offenders to go to Community service. Speaking of challenges, who’s going to change the office calendars in the future? I have been doing it for the past 20 years.
A nice moment: After visiting Amberley RAAF base for 50th Anniversary of RAAF working dogs and meeting lots of long lost workmates, my sons said to me “they really respected you there”, that was nice, same as tonight is nice.
Future: I will be looking after the Stocklands Cleveland Centre ‘Community Garden’ and am hoping this will become a Community Service site, fishing, gardening and slowing down a bit; the last few years have just been a blur trying to maintain/build gardens just on weekends. Judy will also be retiring later this year; she is worried about me settling down and annoying her, interesting times ahead, I suppose there’s still time for Judy to divorce me.
It’s also nice to see Ernie, John, Bev here, it’s been a real privilege to help this community by providing community service to needy organisations.
Thank you every one for coming here tonight, you have ‘made my day’, I will miss you all.