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Ali’s story: 25 years of dedicated service

9 June 2021 Stories of hope

When Ali began working at Wesley Mission, Rev Gordon Moyes AC was steering Wesley Mission as CEO and Superintendent, John Howard was inside his first 100 days as Australia’s Prime Minister and George Michael had a number one hit on the music charts.

Twenty-five years on and only one of those things has remained unchanged: Ali’s dedicated service to the residents of Wesley Vickery Sylvania’s aged care village.

After finishing school at Minerva Sutherland, Ali began volunteering at Wesley Mission. Her enthusiasm was noticeably contagious and a few months later she was offered a paid position.

On 3 June 2021, Wesley Vickery Sylvania staff and residents, current Wesley Mission CEO and Superintendent Rev Stu Cameron and his wife Sue, as well as General Manager, Home and Residential Care Grace Chan, joined Ali’s parents Fred and Marilyn and her former manager, Corlette, for a lunch to celebrate Ali’s 25-year employment milestone.

To honour Ali, Wesley Vickery Recreation Activities Officer, Lesley with the help of residents, created bunting and placemats with messages of congratulations for Ali throughout the dining area.

Ali’s colleagues also created a ‘This is Your Life’ style book, capturing countless photos of her dedicated years of service.

Led by Ali’s chef buddy, David, kitchen staff created a doughnut stack in the shape of 25. Hot chips were served, and Ali was poured a glass of her favourite beverage, Coke No Sugar.

Looking back on her first day on the job Ali said, “I was so nervous. I didn’t know what to do but the team helped me to feel at home.” 

Since then, Ali has continued to work four days a week helping to prepare and serve lunch for the residents.

Ali is well known for bringing joy to her colleagues as well as the odd surprise, including the time she announced that she was taking a flight over Antarctica. It was only when she brought in photos the following week that her colleagues realised she wasn’t kidding!

As for the best part of the job, Ali said, “I have such good friends. And today I have been working here [at Wesley Vickery Sylvania] longer than anyone else.

“I love dealing with people and working in God’s place.”

Ali has been encouraging her parents to consider retiring at the adjoining Frank Vickery Village – a place she’d like to live one day too. But for the time being, she intends to continue working here for some time yet.