Al­tru­is­tic avi­a­tor finds new flock

Canning Gazette - - ROSSMOYNE WATERS -

THE haz­ardous moun­tain airstrips and re­mote vil­lages of Pa­pua New Guinea’s (PNG) high­lands may seem a world away from tran­quil Perth, but Ross­moyne Wa­ters Vil­lage chap­lain Roger Mil­list says there is a sim­ple com­mon de­nom­i­na­tor making them more alike than you’d imag­ine: peo­ple.

“No mat­ter who or where you are in the world, there are times of cel­e­bra­tion and times of sad­ness,” Roger said.

“Through­out my life

I’ve found my­self daily blessed to bear wit­ness to both and be of ser­vice.”

The 65-year-old for­mer Ad­ven­tist Aviation Ser­vices CEO and chief pi­lot in PNG is now full-time chap­lain at Ad­ven­tist Care’s Ross­moyne Wa­ters Vil­lage.

“Yes­ter­day I drove up the free­way to visit two of our res­i­dents cur­rently in hos­pi­tal and pro­vided sup­port to an­other whose hus­band sadly passed this week,” Roger said.

“Then I con­ducted a joy­ous mu­sic-based pa­tient en­gage­ment ac­tiv­ity in our aged care fa­cil­ity be­fore hav­ing a catch-up with sev­eral res­i­dents at Aus­tralis Apartments to make sure they were go­ing well.

“A few years ago I was fly­ing down moun­tain passes to de­liver a mother and new­born baby to hos­pi­tal and some­times even con­duct­ing a lively ser­vice in the bush.

“Then I’d be air-freight­ing vegeta­bles be­tween high­land vil­lages and low­land mar­kets be­fore re­turn­ing a de­ceased per­son to their vil­lage for a funeral.

“It sounds an odd thing to say but life hasn’t changed much for me com­ing here to Ross­moyne, other than my mode of trans­port.

“My life re­mains in­cred­i­bly in­ter­est­ing and chal­leng­ing ev­ery day. Peo­ple still need friend­ship, fel­low­ship and sup­port wher­ever you go.”

A se­vere burn ac­ci­dent to his adult son Lin­den, him­self an air­craft en­gi­neer for Ad­ven­tist Aviation Ser­vices, is what even­tu­ally brought Roger and his wife Carol back to Aus­tralia in 2014.

“Lin­den’s in­jury and five-year re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion was very dif­fi­cult,” Roger said.

“If I thought prior to that I’d seen enough in the world to pro­vide me with a full sense of em­pa­thy for oth­ers, I was wrong.

“The lived ex­pe­ri­ence of see­ing some­one you love suf­fer­ing truly opens your eyes and your heart.”

Aus­tralis res­i­dent Donelle Cater said she knows the depth of that em­pa­thy as when her hus­band Barry passed away in early 2019, Roger, along with part-time chap­lains Jas­min Stankovic, Ger­vais Cangy and the man­age­ment team at Ross­moyne Wa­ters, ral­lied around her pro­vid­ing cru­cial sup­port and care.

“They were there for Barry and I right to the end and then held me to­gether af­ter Barry passed,” Donelle said.

“I vol­un­teer with the pas­toral team to this day as a re­sult; it pro­vides me a won­der­ful sense of pur­pose, ful­fil­ment and friend­ship.

“Barry and I were liv­ing in the vil­las but had al­ready com­mit­ted to an Aus­tralis apart­ment when he fi­nally fell re­ally ill, went into care and then passed away.

“The end was quite sud­den and I was strug­gling; the man­age­ment team here made tran­si­tion­ing into the apart­ment stress-free and re­lieved me of a great deal of fi­nan­cial worry.

“They were very kind to me and I know they’ve re­peat­edly helped oth­ers since who’ve been in sim­i­lar cir­cum­stances.

“Al­tru­ism re­ally is at the core of ev­ery­thing done here at Ross­moyne Wa­ters.”

Ross­moyne Wa­ters chief ex­ec­u­tive Gary Blag­den said more than half of

Stage One of Aus­tralis was now called home by happy new res­i­dents. In­ter­est in the re­main­ing 25 two and three bed­room apartments, from $475,000-$845,000, is height­en­ing.

“We’re en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to reach out now to our vil­lage man­ager Daniel Gal­lop and ex­pe­ri­ence the com­plex’s apartments and ameni­ties first-hand,” Gary said.

“All apartments are life­long lease with three choices of de­ferred man­age­ment fee geared to suit in­di­vid­ual cir­cum­stances.

“We’re craft­ing a har­mo­nious, pos­i­tive com­mu­nity here and we’re do­ing it in style.”

For more in­for­ma­tion about Aus­tralis at Ross­moyne Wa­ters, call Daniel on 9253 4456 or visit www. ross­moynewa­

Pic­ture: Dou­glas Mark Black

Aus­tralis Apartments.

Ross­moyne Wa­ters chap­lain Roger Mil­list and Aus­tralis res­i­dent Donelle Cater.

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