Husband and wife team farewell Rosies

by Kate Schmidt

Gina & Werner Rossbach

Celebrating birthdays. That’s one of the things that Gina Rossbach is going to miss about going out on outreaches every week.

“Even if it’s not my night I always show up with a birthday cake and sing them happy birthday,” she said.

“(The patrons who come to visit us) many of them don’t have their birthdays celebrated and the smilies we see on their faces when they realise we acknowledge who they are, that memory is one I’ll always carry with me.

“I don’t think of them as patrons, I think of them as friends and that’s the way it should be.”

Gina, who retired from her role as branch coordinator which she shared with her husband Werner in Cairns, said while the couple were moving on, their time at Rosies was very important to them.

She started volunteering with the organisation back in 2008 when she needed to complete an assignment for her social work degree about homelessness.

Fast forward a few months, she was volunteering regularly and even when her assignment and degree was finished, she wanted to stay.

Soon, she jumped into the coordinator role, and while it was a bit of a shock to step up, she didn’t regret it in the slightest. In fact, she loved it so much, she even convinced her husband Werner to join the team.

“Simply put, my wife had been doing it for years and eventually they needed someone who had a manual licence to drive the van so I stepped forward in 2016,” he said.

The couple split up the coordination role; Werner taking over training and induction work and Gina working the outreaches and other administration that needed doing.

One of the things Werner said he loved about volunteering was being able to provide hot meals for the patrons.
“They really appreciate a hot meal in the afternoon when they haven’t had anything all day,” he said.
“When you show up they are always so, so grateful.”

While Gina said the couple had “heavy hearts” about their retirement from Rosies, they were looking forward to spending more time with family and enjoying other interests.

“I’m a social worker by trade so I am going to upgrade my education, I’ll be working on a mental health accreditation and my husband is looking forward to spending more time with his children,” she said.
“We have loved our time with Rosies, it’s very rewarding to just see the genuine care these people have that we’re willing to help them.”

Rosies is so grateful for the dedication and love that the pair has shared with our patrons for the last 14 years.