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21 Barclay Street, Heywood, VIC, 3304


Two new Life Governors were announced at the 2021/2022 Heywood Rural Health Annual General Meeting on Friday 17February 2023.

A Life Governor Award recognises a significant contribution through voluntary, philanthropic and / or professional service to Heywood Rural Health, this may include outstanding achievement or commitment, performing above the call of duty, the range of work performed over an extended or shorter period, a significant activity, and a demonstrated commitment to the Health Service values.

HRH Life Governor Nomination process saw the following successful recipients nominated and endorsed by the Board of Directors to receive the award of Life Governor for their dedicated and outstanding service to Heywood Rural Health.

It is an absolute pleasure to announce the following new Life Governors.

Max Oberlander

Max is a current serving Board Director and dedicated volunteer at Heywood Rural Health and across the Heywood and Portland regions.  In Max’s volunteer capacity, he has provided gardening services and positive engagement with the aged care residents, who enjoy the caring and respectful interaction and connection with the garden. Max’s service to Heywood Rural Health includes significant hours of volunteering over twelve (12) years and as a Board Director of 4.5 years. 

Max volunteers in and around the gardens on a weekly basis, creates beautiful gardening spaces at the request of residents, undertakes the annual rose pruning and more recently has overseen and looks after the resident’s vegetable garden, which provides ‘home grown’ herbs and vegetables to include in residents’ meals.

Max has delighted the residents each year by providing an abundance of beautiful flowers from his and his wife, Chris’s beautiful garden for the Anzac Day and Remembrance Day wreaths and enables the residents to create their own flower displays and arrangements in vases, which the residents enjoy immensely. 

Max exudes the values of Heywood Rural Health and has the residents, carers, staff, volunteers and his Board Director colleagues at the heart of everything he participates in.  Max is known as a great listener, socialising and sharing jokes.

Max is a very compassionate man, which is greatly respected and admired by all at Heywood Rural Health.  As a Board Director, Max is a member of the Consumer Advisory Committee and has served as the Chair of that Committee and a mentor to new Directors joining the consumer advisory committee, with the goal of listing to consumers and our community about what are the needs of the community and ways to improve the facilities and service delivery for the aged care residents, patients, clients and the entire workforce and ensuring they have a beautiful garden to observe out their windows or on their daily stroll.

Phil Saunders

Phil has provided dedicated service to Heywood Rural Health and his leadership as a very active Board Director for nine years and Board Chair for three years in his final term on the Board up to June 2022. Phil was a key leader in the improvements in governance, sector and community partnering, authentic engagement and was instrumental in encouraging some of our current and former high performing Board Directors to apply for appointment. 

Phil has always played a significant role in fundraising activities and HRH community events, and always focussed on championing Heywood Rural Health to the Government, Department of Health in Victoria and with other health service partners, in particularly Winda-Mara.

Phil participated regularly on the Barwon South West Board Chairs meeting and other high level Board regional meetings advocating for and promoting the achievements Heywood Rural Health.

Phil was warmly engaging of all staff, residents, fellow Board Directors and regional stakeholders, looking for opportunities to strengthen Heywood Rural Health. 

 Phil’s energy and enthusiasm and his service on the board had a very strategic focus.  He embraced supporting new directors to develop their skills and demonstrate their capabilities in leading Heywood Rural Health as the governing body. 

Phil’s greatest attributes is how easy he is to get along with, reliability and sense of humour.

Phil has been a motivator in striving for excellence in health care, demonstrating the Heywood Rural Health values and has seen the health service continue to improve, be accountable within regulatory and legislative frameworks and seen positive change and multiple achievements over his 9 years of service. 

Congratulations to both Max and Phil from all at Heywood Rural Health.