A man of many talents, volunteer John Rees loves the community and his orchids.
A man of many talents, volunteer John Rees loves the community and his orchids. Tanya Easterby

Teacher learnt value of helping as a youngster

CONTINUING the Volunteer of the Week feature to acknowledge the unpaid work of volunteers in the community, Gympie Times reporter LARA WEBSTER chats with another devoted volunteer.

JOHN REES has been serving the Gympie community since 1964.

That was the year Mr Rees finished university and began teaching at Gympie State High School.

He stayed there until 1996 and throughout his career his volunteering efforts developed.

He was committed to ensuring his students had sufficient facilities.

"I was appointed science subject master in 1968 and deputy principal in 1973 which I served until the end of 1996," Mr Rees said.

"I attended P and C meetings regularly and in 1979 I took up the position of projects officer.

"During that time I led planning and fundraising for the swimming pool, stages one and two of the gymnasium and the construction of the catering kitchen."

In 1997 to acknowledge his outstanding service, the gymnasium was named The Rees Gymnasium after Mr Rees and his wife.

Teaching was more than a career for Mr Rees. It was a passion.

"I really loved teaching," he said.

"Even when I tried to retire I took on contracts at various schools around the district and I had my most wonderful experiences at Cooloola Christian College.

"Over the years I have seen many good and bad changes made in education."

In 1983 Mr Rees became a member of Rotary Club of Gympie and still is today.

He has served in every executive position since he been a member.

Mr Rees received the Paul Harris Fellowship Pin and the Paul Harris Fellowship Sapphire Pin for his service to the community.

Both awards acknowledge remarkable community service and the Sapphire Pin is not awarded without a great deal of consideration.

"I've been a secretary for the last 10 years and in 1995 I instituted the Rotary International best all-rounder award which offers a medallion and bursary to a student in every secondary school around Gympie," Mr Rees said.

"In the time I have been with Rotary it has allowed me to meet many people and gain confidence in many aspects of life."

Mr Rees has also dedicated plenty of time to his hobby, orchids.

"When I decided to stay in Gympie around 1979 it allowed me to build an orchid house and join the local Gympie and District Orchid Society," Mr Rees said.

"About 20 years ago I became a life member and for the past 25 years I have been the secretary and the monthly bulletin editor."

Through his efforts with the local orchid club, Mr Rees was encouraged to become a judge with the Sub-Tropical Orchid Council.

"It takes four years to become a judge and I became one in 1984," Mr Rees said.

"I attend as many neighbouring shows as possible and I am the state registrar of orchid judges."

His volunteering efforts come with big responsibilities.

Mr Rees does it for nothing more than the sheer satisfaction of being involved in the community.

"I grew up on a farm where giving a helping hand was the ethos I was brought up with," Mr Rees said.

If you know of a volunteer deserving recognition, contact Lara Webster on 5480 4238 or email lara. webster@gympietimes.com.

Gympie Times


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