Community Update: St Vincent de Paul Society Coolum

Recognising 41 years of service from Helen Hayes 

Helen Hayes receives her Associate Life Membership from Marshall Morison, Conference President in recognition of her outstanding service. Photo: Contributed

COOLUM has been lucky to have the service of Helen Hayes of the Saint Peter’s Conference at Coolum for four decades and upon her retirement Helen received an Associate Life Membership to the Saint Vincent de Paul Society in recognition of her outstanding tenure on April 18.  

Helen has been a member of the St Peter’s Conference at Coolum since its foundation on December 7, 1982. 

At that foundation meeting, Helen agreed to be appointed as St Peter’s Conference inaugural Treasurer, with her appointment made by the inaugural President Peter Nile. 

Over the past 41 years, all eleven Conference Presidents have continuously nominated Helen to remain as Conference Treasurer. This unbroken length of confidence by Conference Presidents demonstrates Helen’s extraordinary achievement of all of the Society’s values. 

In particular, are Helen’s Commitment to loyalty in service of our mission and her Integrity in promoting, maintaining and adhering to its values. As possibly the longest-serving Conference Treasurer in the Society’s history in Queensland, Helen’s financial management of Conference funds has enabled the Conference to independently financially support countless companions over the past four decades. 

As the most senior Lead Vincentian for the Saint Peter’s Conference, Helen’s engagement with companions has been based on establishing Empathetic relationships with people and having a Compassionate heart when looking at the circumstances and ways of working with the companions she serves.  

And while not all companions are easy to work with, Helen’s understanding smile and practical approach to suggested solutions are always respected by the companions she engages with.  

Her leadership and example is also respected and acknowledged by all the other members of our Conference.  

Appreciation for Helen’s work extends well beyond the Conference. She is highly regarded at the Northern Diocesan Office who have acknowledged her history of ‘clean’ audits and has commended her on a number of occasions for her diligent work on the Conference financials. 

In addition to being the best Treasurer a Conference could hope for, Helen has been integral to the Saint Peter’s Conference in undertaking the roles of store person, ensuring the Conference pantry is always well supplied and being the Conference mail-box custodian. Whether it be fund-raising or helping out in the kitchen, Helen has always been there working in the background. 

And most importantly, it is Helen’s courage and advocacy over many years that has been instrumental to giving hope and transforming the lives of our Coolum community companions. 

While Helen may have a cynical smile about receiving Associate Life Membership for just trying to travel with our companions, it belays the mutual love and respect she has earned from every member of the Saint Peter’s Conference over the past 41 years. 

All conference members agree that she is indeed deserving of life member status.   

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