Joan honoured for endeavouring to make a difference
JOAN Massingham found the pot of gold 50 years ago when she started volunteering for the Endeavour Foundation.
In 1964, Joan and her late husband Barry with their three children attended the official opening of Caringa, the first special school started in Maryborough by Qld Sub-Normal Children's Welfare Association.
"The association was only about 12 years old, and started by a group of mothers in Brisbane, giving their special children a chance for a normal life," she said.
"The name change to Endeavour Foundation came about 35 years later."
The passionate Endeavour volunteer said her son Gregory who had Down Syndrome started at the school in 1968.
"Gregory started with the most wonderful school teacher - Mrs Lawson and her assistant Joan Miller," Joan said.
"There were at least 20 children at this school - these were happy years for the children, and we as parents were called upon to raise funds to help pay for the building and the teacher's wages, etc.
"For years I collected rags, bottles, newspapers and clothing, from all over Maryborough.
"Barry was very involved and helped with the running of balls, Art Union raffles, telethons, fetes, pub raffles, baby shows and Miss Toddler and Teen Shows.
"We worked hard to earn each dollar."
After about 15 years, the older school children were leaving school, with nowhere to go.
"The decision was made to build a workshop for them to transfer across to, and with the wonderful help from volunteers of the Jaycee Men's Service Club, enough money was raised to build the first level of the building, quickly followed by the second floor downstairs.
"Work began with cutting rags, making crab-pots, crushing bottles, weighing potatoes and onions, and packing newspapers into a bale.
"After a few short years, the third and fourth section of flooring was added, making the Endeavour Foundation Industries facility into what it is today."
For the last eight years I have been on the Wide Bay area committee which incorporates Gympie, Maryborough and Bundaberg.
"I have regularly attended quarterly meets where head office in Brisbane would inform us on what was happening within the foundation."
Joan said her son was still working for Endeavour Foundation Industries in Maryborough.
"Gregory has been with the foundation for 50 years and working for in the workshop for 37 years," she said.
"My son is happy - he leaves home early in the morning and comes home in the afternoon - he loves his job and the people he works with."
With the National Disability Insurance Scheme set to change, Joan said it's time for her to step aside and encourage others to share their expertise and their passion.
Endeavour Foundation Chief Executive Andrew Donne said that Joan is a true champion for people with a disability.
"Joan leaves behind a legacy of advocacy, having dedicated her life to the continual improvement of services in the Maryborough region, for not only her son Gregory but many local people with a disability and their families," Andrew said.
"Joan's passion and dedication has been extraordinary, and we offer her our sincere thanks."
Joan said she wanted to see people support the Maryborough foundation wherever possible.
Endeavour Foundation Industries manager Scott Reed said any donations would be gratefully received and would go towards supporting local people with a disability.
"Our business is built around the skills and competencies of the people we employ and, by offering individualised support to each person, we can provide truly meaningful opportunities," Scott said.
"Work can give a sense of purpose, an opportunity to contribute and gain skills, improve confidence and self-esteem, so we focus on what people can do - their strengths and capabilities.
"There is no timber job we won't look at, as we have a wealth of experience and machinery on site.
"We operate in the same competitive marketplace as any other business, but with the additional benefit of providing training and meaningful supported employment opportunities for people with a disability, so we'd encourage customers to approach us for a quote.
"Our products are price competitive and of excellent quality, from pallets, sandwich boards and duck boards to a large range of timber stakes and pegs for the public, surveyors, the mining industry, councils, real estate agents and Road building companies, to name but a few."
"Even though I feel I haven't got anything to offer, I urge everyone to offer and donation their support," Joan said.
"I love Endeavour - I am indebted to Endeavour.
"The foundation has been part of my life's formation - it runs in my veins."