Generosity is rewarded with honour
SUNSHINE Coast's Jocelyn Walker has been honored by of the University of the Sunshine Coast's with the award of the Chancellor's Stole - the pinnacle of acknowledgements that recognises her contribution to this and many other organisations on the Coast.
Seniors News recently spoke to Jocelyn about her philanthropic work with the university, RACQ LifeFlight, Sunny Kids, Steps Charity, Montrose Access and Sunshine Coast Oriana Choir.
What motivates you? When my late husband and I built the 24-hour service stations on the Bruce Highway, the Coast community really supported us. I guess that's where the philanthropy came from. Vic wanted to give back to the community and thank them for how they supported us. Eighty per cent of the people who walked through our door were local. My husband was also very keen to support youth in different areas. I followed that line of thought as well.
Why support the university? (She has been on the university's Foundation Board for 24 years.) I like to support the students to pursue their goals and careers. We have a scholarship in memory of my late husband and which we annually give to a student to give them a great start to their university life.
How do you choose a cause? It starts off being random. You go to something you have a keen interest in such as LifeFlight. The mere fact they are saving lives everyday within our region, ihas made it become very much a passion of mine. A year ago, I took on the position of chair of the LifeFlight regional advisory committee on the Coast. Now I can play a more intimate role in it. Montrose Access supports children and young adults with physical disabilities, neuro-muscular conditions, development delay and autism. I support them quite substantially. Steps Charity is one of the organisations I am enormously proud of. The rewards are what takes you there. I think, the more you see something grow, the more enthusiasm you seem to get.
Your greatest passion? I grew up in a musical family. Most of them were singers. When I discovered the Oriana Choir at the first concert I went to, I decided I really want to help them. Each year I get more passionate about the choir. The more they grow, the more I love them. If you ask me what gives me the most pleasure, it's the choir. But if you ask me to name a charity, it's LifeFlight. The university is top of my tree.
What is your age? I don't have it printed in any media. Particularly because I am boards, some people sometimes think, 'oh well, why aren't there younger people on there?'. I think everybody achieves on their own merit and not their age.
How much time does this work take? Phew, I would like to show you my diary. I will sometimes have three of four appointments a day, and then go a week and not have any. I spend about 15 to 20 hours a week on them. The very best outcome is to meet with someone and explain to them (the project). The face-to-face is the absolute pinnacle of getting a good response. I can't say I really enjoy it. I find it a challenge. I try to go about it in the best way I can, but it does take a lot of time. How do you keep well? I walk for an hour every morning and I try to eat well. I travel a lot up to a month or six weeks each time. (The work) doesn't interrupt my travel, but I can work remotely. I also have a lot of family close by and they come first.
How long will you keep doing this? Financially I will support them while I am on this earth. I would like to think my two children will continue with some or all of them. Certainly, with the university scholarship, they will continue with that . I am certain it will be renamed to the Vic and Jocelyn Walker Memorial Scholarship.