I had to share this with you – because this was a career highlight and great honour for me.
On behalf of my client, St John of God Richmond Hospital, I produced their annual Veterans’ Day commemoration service on 6 August. One of the core programs of the hospital is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and for over 20 years now, the hospital have been integral in supporting the veteran community – young and old. Whilst this commemoration has most significance to our ever decreasing ranks in the Vietnam Veteran community, it’s also incredibly poignant time of reflection for our young vets from recent and current conflicts and the team of caregivers – nursing team, Psychiatrists, Psychologists and others who take this time to reunite with patients. As part of this, our special guest for the day was The Honourable Dame Prof Marie Bashir AD CVO, former Governor General of NSW.
Back to the big day and Professor Bashir
Kudos does not belong to me for engaging this enigmatic and special human being for our humble ceremony. But it was my duty to produce and manage the day which included managing two VIPs and their activities and the ‘tour of duty’ for the day which included greetings, walk-arounds, morning teas, photoshoots, opening the art exhibition, the ceremony and then some.
Amongst the bustle and tight timelines of the running order, I wanted to make sure everyone had their ‘moment’ with Professor Bashir and I believe, we all did. Even me. More about that in a moment…….
I hate to gush, but I will. Professor Bashir is one of the most down to earth, authentic and sweet human beings I’ve had the pleasure to meet and work with. She has an energy and aura about her, the gift of being able to relate to and make everyone feel special – even the therapy dog! Our Veterans in particular, were so appreciative of her attention, and I had trouble easing her away, so that others could share a moment with her in the limited time we had. I overheard stories told in conversation or from the lectern about her personal experiences – her stories reflect a lifetime of experience. I saw this inspiring woman have power over people, without even meaning to. She has the ability to really relate, connect and touch their hearts and souls. I know it sounds corny, but you can’t buy that kind of magic – she is clearly blessed with it.
Professor Bashir’s passion and compassion for mental health and wellness mental wellness stems from her childhood in Nerrandera, NSW, with a growing awareness the that troubled souls on the street may be soldiers returning from war with damaged minds. She was a GP and then a practising Psychiatrist and has had distinguished career and carries accolades too long to recite. The upshot of all of this is – she is an impressive and humble person and she’ll be the first one to bat away the compliments.
And at the end of a busy morning, after making sure she (and Colin her driver) had their lunch packs and goodies for the long drive back to the city for the next engagement – I had my moment. I was able to present her with a book – that co-incidently she is mentioned in (and she did not know it) by my friend Greg Fisher (Inside Out). Drawing the lines of our connection, it was a great thrill and she was so excited and sincere in her delight at know it.
To me, she is a true example of someone who is – real and a pleasure, and I just had to share it.