30 Jan Meet Your Board – Mark Pitt
How long have you been a member of Dee Why RSL for?
39 years. I joined when I was 18. Back in those days you had to be nominated by a returned servicemen to become a member. There is a long history between Dee Why RSL and Dee Why SLSC, and it was members of the SLSC who nominated me.
How long have you been a Director of Dee Why RSL for?
I have been a director for 13 years now. When I first joined the Board I was 44 years old, and, at that time, was the youngest Director. There have been a number of changes on the Board over the years and funnily enough, I still remain the youngest.
How have you seen the RSL change over your time as a Director?
I have seen the RSL change from a small organisation, growing in size, membership, staff, facilities and services. Before I was even a member, I remember the tennis courts which were located on Hawkesbury Ave, which later turned into
To keep up with the local development, and member needs, we have had to change and grow over the years.
What is your fondest memory as a Director?
I have truly enjoyed being involved in the community and helping with the development of the RSL. I am proud to have been part of the ANZAC Day Dawn Service as it transitioned from a Club service, to a community event on the beachfront. We’ve gone from having 1,000 people at the RSL, to having over 10,000 people on the beachfront to pay their respects on ANZAC Day. It is an incredible event which resonates with the values of which we as an RSL stand for.
What makes Dee Why RSL different to other RSLs in the area?
Our environment, our offerings, our diversification. We are not just an RSL, we are a community hub. We are a vibrant place for people to come together no matter the reasoning, from meeting people, to dinner, to listening to music, to socialising. We have a little bit of everything and it’s fantastic.
If you had to describe yourself in four words, what would they be?
Committed, Friendly, Approachable, Passionate.
In your opinion, what has the impact of the Veterans Centre had on the community?
The Veterans Centre has had an extremely positive impact on the community, providing our local area an avenue to look after returned service people, their needs and families. It is something this area has never seen before.
It is providing a positive place for people to go and seek help, assistance, guidance, support and advocacy without being judged or condemned. Coming from regimented backgrounds, the Veterans Centre stands to help these returned
servicemen, women, and their families transition back into society which to some, can be a very overwhelming or daunting experience.
It’s not just the Centre itself, the team as well do such a terrific job in helping their clients through the most difficult of times.
What is your favourite thing to eat and which outlet is it from?
Anything steak and seafood. Flame is my personal preference; however, I do love all of the outlets.
What is something that we wouldn’t know about you?
My first overseas holiday was Papua New Guinea when I was 14 with just my sister. We were put on a plane by my parents to meet with my uncle at the other end to have a two week holiday. I returned to Port Moresby almost 10 years later for work and ended up spending four years there. During this time, I never felt unsafe mainly because I was aware of my surroundings and learnt to be aware and cautious of certain situations. A number of my friends however were in some sticky situations that sound more like a movie than real life!
What excites you most about the future of the RSL?
It’s hard not be excited about the development and the progression of the RSL. Looking at the plans and the fly through, I am looking forward to seeing it come together to become part of our community and for all to enjoy our facilities well into the future.