RSL club veteran puts family first
By EMMA CORNFORD
FOR 34 years, Noel Jorgensen enjoyed almost every day at work.
But Tuesday brought the end of an era as Mr Jorgensen, assistant general manager of the Grafton District Services Club, retired.
Now the 56-year-old will spend his time fishing with his wife Dianna and travelling to spend time with his children and six grandchildren.
"In the early days the club was my life because you're often working shift-work, so the family missed out a bit. But now I have the chance to catch up with things we missed out on," he said.
"It's got to the stage that I'm lucky enough to be able to retire, so we can enjoy ourselves and ... do things as they come. I won't have a plan to be anywhere at 3pm anymore ? there's nothing planned."
Mr Jorgensen said he had seen an 'astronomical' number of changes over the years; from the introduction of breathalysers which put a serious dent in the club's patronage, to more sophisticated pokies and technology.
And poker machines are something Mr Jorgensen knows all about, according to GDSC general manager Arthur Lysaught.
"The most important area here is the gaming and that's the area where Noel has really excelled," Mr Lysaught said.
"His knowledge about poker machines is as great as anyone else in the State."
But it is the people which Mr Jorgensen said made his 34 years at the club so enjoyable.
"I've always enjoyed coming to work because this industry is a real people industry, so no two days are the same," he said.
"Some members have been coming here well and truly since before I started here and they're still coming because of a complete and utter loyalty to the GDSC."
Mr Jorgensen said he had lived by the philosophy that if you don't enjoy doing something, you shouldn't do it ? which may have helped turn what could have been 'bad times' into periods that were simply 'challenges'.
"We've never run at a loss ... and I think the club will always be a success, with the loyalty of the board and the managers here."