Guest writer: Kirsty Roche Tumut and Adleong Times.
One of Tumut’s favourite volunteers, Pat Rodd, has been included in the Department of Primary Industry Hidden Treasures Honour Roll for 2012.
The honour roll acknowledges the important volunteer roles women play within NSW rural communities and was judged by Minister for Primary Industries, Katrina Hodgkinson, Minister for Family and Community Services and Minister for Women, Pru Goward and Minister for Citizenship and Communities,Victor Dominello.
For Pat, though, having her name included on such a list means very little in the broad scheme of life.
The people she helps and the friends with whom she carries out the volunteering work is what is important.
“Volunteering and helping others is a lovely way to meet people and make to friends,” Mrs Rodd said. “You can’t do it on your own though, people need to help you and I feel the others I volunteer with are treasures just as much as I am.
“I love it and I will keep volunteering for as long as I can. As long as I can help people I will keep going.”
Born in 1929 in Tumut, she started her schooling at the Argalong School before the family moved down the mountain to Tumut where Pat and her siblings enrolled at Tumut Public.
Growing up as part of a family of eight children, life was fun. The worry parents held during those tough times did not filter down to the Patterson children who enjoyed long days playing and exploring.
“We didn’t ever think it was hard in those days it was simply if you didn’t have it, then you didn’t have it,” Mrs Rodd said. “Our Saturday treat in winter was going down to watch the Maher Cup football. I remember we would walk down in the pouring rain to watch the footy, we didn’t have a car and we didn’t seem to mind as we loved going to the footy.”
After Pat left school she worked for Mrs Mary McCauslin looking after her children, a line of work she stuck with until she was wed.
“Mary was like a mum to me, she was a lovely lady,” Mrs Rodd said. “I wanted to be a nurse but mum wouldn’t let me. I’ve always loved helping people.”
In 1947, as an 18-year-old young woman, Pat married her sweetheart, Vic Rodd. a working buddy of her brother, and through letters over time, fell in love and married.
“Vic came from Tarcutta and he worked with my brother at Lacmalac and came to stay weekend at out place and thats how we met,” Mrs Rodd said. “He wrote to me later and our friendship grew from the letters until Vic started to do some work at same place as my dad. After we were married we moved Tarcutta.”
After some time spent in Tarcutta, the Rodds moved back to Tumut, buying a home in Carey Street before leaving again in 1959.
Eventually settling back in Tarcutta, Vic and Pat bought Vic’s fathers farm and ran a Hereford then Limousin property where they raised their children Robert, John, Peter, Helen and Jenelle working hard on the land and Pat throwing herself into volunteer work.
“I loved the farm, I still miss it dearly,” Mrs Rodd said. “Volunteering keeps me busy and it is something you really need to do as part of a group,” Mrs Rodd said. “I have always done it so it doesn’t seem like I am doing anything special.”
In Tarcutta Pat was involved in many organisations and on moving back to Tumut 22-years ago with Vic stating he hoped Pat wouldn’t be involved in so much volunteer work, she jumped straight back into the role of helper.
Pat has served as part of the CWA for 50-years, is on the Hospital Auxiliary and does weekly trolley duty, on the Red Cross, Tumut Valley Garden Club, Bupa Auxiliary, Blakeney Lodge, Anglican Church Fete, Meals on Wheels, Lions, Probus and the View Club.
Until Pat broke her femur 10-months ago putting her briefly out of action, she was an enthusiastic member of the Friends of Stockwell Gardens and still occasionally delivers one of her divine Tea Cakes to them for morning tea and catch up chat.
As a life member of the Tumut Show Society and helping out once a month in the museum, idle time for Pat is a rarity. Her magnificent Tea Cake, which is best eaten hot, now graces the pages of The Country Show Cookbook, which features a top selection of recipes from around the country show scene.
Losing her husband 15 years ago, not too long after they returned to Tumut, Pat has embraced her volunteer work and enjoyed the friendship of those she had worked side by side with for many years.
“When you are a widow and live on your own, need to get out and it is good as I have always liked to help people,” Mrs Rodd said. “A lot of the same ladies are in the same groups and some of ladies I volunteer with I went to school with.”
Tumut’s Citizen of the Year in 2010, her latest accolade of being included on the Hidden Treasures honour roll and a broad collection of wonderful friends translate to a very contented lady who continues to intermittently drop off tea cakes around town and will volunteer until she can no longer offer her assistance.