Major contributions

By David Rak

MAJORS John and Gail Roberts have retired from the Salvation Army after 19 years of service.

People from far and wide gathered at the Salvation Army church in Kyabram on January 6 to farewell John and Gail, who have served in Kyabram for seven years.

John and Gail were previously officers in charge in Broadford as well as chaplains to Overdale drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre at Kilmore East before they were appointed to Kyabram in 2011.

Reflecting on their time in Kyabram, John and Gail said representing the Salvation Army was both extremely challenging and rewarding.

“There’s nothing like the feeling of helping someone out of a tough situation,” John said.

“Often all people want is someone to talk to. A big part of our role was talking to people lending an ear.

“But working with people has challenges because you can’t help everyone. It was always sad to tell people we didn’t have the resources to help them, but that’s the way it is.”

Gail said helping during the Black Saturday bush fires was something she and John will never forget.

“We worked as chaplains during that time as we were based in Broadford,” she said.

“The devastation and tragedy was a hard thing to see. The blackened skin of people who were just trying to survive is something I will never forget.

“It was like a different world and going through that prepared us for work as chaplains down the track.”

As for their retirement, John and Gail said they were keen to kick back and take some time for themselves at their home in Kyabram.

“Taking time for us feels a bit liberating after so many years of looking after other people,” Gail said.

“We’re looking forward to it and we’re keen to do some travelling now we have the time.”

Captain Taryn Singer and her husband Aux-Lieutenant James Singer will be installed as the new officers in charge in Kyabram on January 20.