Tarneit man John Campbell is a long-serving community volunteer, a member of the Rotary Club of Wyndham and a passionate Tigers supporter.
How long have you called Wyndham home?
I’ve lived in the area for 42 years.
Can you tell me a bit about your involvement with the community?
I’ve been involved with the Salvation Army for years. For three years, on Friday nights, I helped out in their van that provides food for homeless and disadvantaged people at the Werribee train station – all the food is donated by SecondBite. That was a real passion of mine for years.
I also go to the community meals. I go there to meet people and talk to them. There are a lot of lonely people who go to those meals, who otherwise just sit at home and watch TV and four walls. They tell me about their lives and I tell them about mine.
You’re also the barbecue director of the Rotary Club, what does that involve?
I’m in charge of all the barbecues at the Wyndham Rotary Club. Last year we raised $29,000 for various good causes through holding barbecues at Bunnings Hoppers Crossing.
For instance, once the Rotary Club visited the mental health hospital (in Werribee). I said to the blokes there, ‘What’s on your wishlist?’ They said they wanted computers and video games to play on. One of the people from down there has also joined Rotary. I ran a barbecue and raised over $1000 for them.
The Rotary Club of Wyndham also did a barbecue to raise funds to send 10 people from the mental health units to Lorne for the weekend, with all expenses paid. They’ve got a hothouse there and all the plastic is eroded away, so one of the men has been running a barbecue at Bunnings to help to replace the shade cloth for the hothouse. I’m going to give them a hand, as I’m a boilermaker, fitter and turner.
What else does Rotary raise funds for?
We’ve also been raising money for Benjamin the dog. About two years ago, the family of a young boy came to Rotary. Their son is autistic, and to get a companion dog for him cost $25,000. Before he got the dog he couldn’t even get a haircut and now he can. Rotary raised the money for Benjamin.
There are now three other families in Werribee which need a dog. They came to us and asked us to raise the money. I said yes, so we’ve got to raise $75,000 for three families.
What else do you do, through Rotary?
We collect pushbikes and computers and take them down for people who do Work for the Dole to use.
As well, my wife Sue and I run a breakfast club every second Friday.
Also, I spend one day a week at Rotary Donations In Kind in West Footscray. We send donations to Cambodia and East Timor, in 40-foot containers. Rotary pays for that, it’s about $7000 per container. We have a contract with hospitals and schools in Melbourne, they ring and we go pick up donations like furniture.
We also send two containers to Chile every year, of beds and mattresses.