Robert Simkus's wife Merle with son Geoffrey Simkus and daughter Rose Morrow.
Robert Simkus's wife Merle with son Geoffrey Simkus and daughter Rose Morrow. Tim Jarrett

Building dedicated at birthday celebration

WHILE looking back on 20 years of service to people in need, Anglicare celebrated the life of one of their own.

Anglicare North Coast officially named their Grafton office the "Robert Simkus building” in honour of a long term volunteer who passed away last year at the age of 93.

Mr Simkus was a volunteer accountant for the organisation for 13 years and a board member for nine of those, continuing to work in the role right up until the end of his life.

CEO of Anglicare North Coast, Estelle Graham explained it was apt the building should be named after Mr Simkus, given his great enthusiasm for its purchase.

"You have to remember Bob was the accountant, so he was the person worried about money,” she said.

"This was our first property acquisition and it meant we were borrowing money and yet Bob was absolutely delighted and just so excited about it.

"And he was out there at a working bee after we settled, working really hard.”

Bob was remembered as a special man who set the standard of a board member who did not just attend meetings but made insightful contributions to debate.

Mr Simkus' work for Anglicare was recognised in 2008 when he won an Individual Achievment Award, which Ms Graham said was particularly significant.

"At the time he won the award it was open to both employees and volunteers. He was competing with about 29,000 people from around Australia.

"He was gracious, patient and above all a very humble man.”

From a small office at the Maclean Anglican church, Anglicare North Coast has grown into a professional organisation delivering a broad range of programs.

It had been at the centre of efforts to help people in financial crisis, those experiencing mental illness and others struggling in the community.

Ms Graham said it was unfortunate that organisations such as Anglicare were needed, but there was "a huge amount of human need right across the region”.

"It's a real privilege to work for an organisation that exists to care for people at a time in their lives when they are feeling vulnerable and experiencing disadvantage.”



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