A mother’s commitment to her daughter has led Judy Rodgers to becoming a Volunteering Mid & South Canterbury and the Hotel Ashburton Volunteer of the Month.
Judy has been volunteering for 31years with the Ashburton Cadet Unit. Like many parents in those days, she got involved in what her children were into. Her daughter now Major Cezarne Rodgers was a cadet. At that time the Cadet Unit was still under Ashburton College who supported them. Funding was tight and the Cadets set about fundraising doing things like wood chopping and sheep manure.
The Cadet Unit moved from being under the college and a parent committee was formed to take the pressure off the cadets and assist with fundraising. By moving from being under the college the Unit was able to get more funding as well as have students from other schools join it.
Judy became the secretary in 1993 and held that role for the next four years. To this day she continues in that role on and off when someone is needed.
The Unit has moved from locations several times beginning in the Garrison Hall to their current location in Cameron St.
When Cezarne became an officer there was loads of paperwork to be completed and Judy became involved in helping with the administration tasks needed to keep the Unit functioning.
Despite being asked several times to consider becoming an Officer Judy prefers to continue in her behind the scenes role. Since 2011 Judy has been responsible for stores.
With her sewing skills she has patched, repaired and remade countless uniforms something she enjoys doing. During the pandemic she made masks for all the cadets that matched their uniforms.
In her roles in stores, she issues uniforms, orders supplies from Burnham, ensures things like kitchen supplies including shopping are all in order for camps, does washing for the Unit and keeps the stores in order.
In earlier days without female officers Judy was often asked to go on camps where female cadets were attending to be a chaperone.
While Judy has been a consistent volunteer for all those years, many officers have come and gone. When there are gaps, Judy will step in to help in any area she is needed because she has a wealth of knowledge on how the Unit operates and what needs to be done.
And why has Judy volunteers over three decades? “It’s like a hobby. It is time away from the home and as I am not in paid employment, I needed something outside the home. “I still enjoy it. “Seeing young shy 13 years olds come into the Unit and leave as confident young people with many going onto the university or join the Military” brings Judy satisfaction in her role.
When she is not volunteering with the Unit, she gives her time to support the work of the Ashburton Returned Services Association. Judy family has a strong tie with the military. Her dad served with the Air Force as a pilot during World War 2.