AFTER growing up in Horsham, Mark Williams always knew he wanted to give back to the region’s health industry.
One of his first jobs was as an orderly at the Wimmera Base Hospital, and almost 30 years later, he returned to the health care group but this time to sit on its board.
Last month, Mr Williams was awarded a Wimmera Health Care Group life governor award for his 15 years’ of service to the health industry in Horsham.
Mr Williams was first appointed to the Wimmera Health Care Group board in November 2001.
“At that point I was brought on as just a general board member,” he said.
“I then became treasurer and I was chairman of the audit committee until 2010.”
In 2010, Mr Williams became Wimmera Health Care Group board chairman.
“I was chairman right through until June 2016, when I decided to resign from the board.”
Mr Williams has always felt strongly about health and his community.
“I grew up in Horsham and I always had a passion for health,” he said.
“Before I moved to Melbourne to study in 1982, I worked as a medical orderly at the Horsham hospital for two years.
“When I moved to Melbourne, I did a few different things, including working at the Austin Hospital.
“I’ve always wanted to give back to the community and contribute to health in our region.”
Mr Williams described his time on the Wimmera Health Care Group board as both interesting and challenging.
“We had some tough times, but we got through those,” he said.
“In my time as chairman, we returned the health care group back to a stable financial position.
“The health industry always has its own challenges – at the moment the board is struggling with a shortage of doctors in the region.”
Mr Williams said there were three main highlights during his time on the board.
Highlights included establishing the Wimmera Medical Centre and the hospital’s new sub-acute ward, along with securing money for the Wimmera Cancer Centre.
“Those are three things that were done on my watch and it was very rewarding,” he said.
Mr Williams started work at GWMWater in Horsham 1996 and was promoted to managing director in 2012.
He said his busy job ultimately led to his decision to resign from the board.
“After 15 years on the board it was rewarding, but also tiring,” he said.
“I became busy with my role as managing director at GWMWater and along with being board chairman, I felt like I was just going from meeting to meeting.”
Mr Williams said he would encourage other people to get involved in their community.
“Being on a board is a rewarding exercise, but there is a bit of work to it,” he said.
“You need to make sure you know what you are getting involved in.
“However, it is a voluntary role and it was rewarding to think that I helped maintain a quality health service in the region.
“It’s fulfilling to get involved and I encourage more people to become part of their community.”
Besides the health care group, Mr Williams has been involved with other groups in the region.
“When I was in Melbourne I was on the Diamond Valley Community Health board – that was my first role on a community-based board,” he said.
“In the past, I’ve also been on the board of the Horsham Football Club and I’ve generally been pretty active in community events.”
Mr Williams said his next venture would be joining the Horsham Golf Club board.
“Given some of the challenges the golf club is having at the moment, I decided to join the board and help get a few things sorted out,” he said.
Mr Williams said above all, he believed in the region and the importance of community.
“I grew up here – it’s a great place to be and we have some very important assets to look after, such as the golf club and the hospital.” he said.
“Overall, it’s been a rewarding experience and a privilege to come back to Horsham and serve the community that helped me get started in life.”
Mr Williams was awarded a Wimmera Health Care Group life governor award at the group’s annual meeting last month.
He said the award was recognition for his contribution to the health care group.
“In my five years as chairman, there was some very interesting times,” he said.
“We had some challenges through that era, but I feel like we came out the other end better than where we started.”
Wimmera Health Care Group chief executive Catherine Morley said it was fantastic to recognise people in the community with life governor awards.
“The life governor awards are a lovely way of understanding the community support we have in the region and recognising the people who have given us their life service,” she said.
“It is great to hear about what these people have contributed to our organisation.”