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Inaugural Chairman’s Medal recipient a ‘Quality’ chap.

Monday, 21 May, 2018

Local businessman and volunteer for Camp Quality, Damian Charleson has been named the inaugural recipient of the Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation Chairman’s Medal.

The Medal was created to honour the late Michael (Mike) Slater who was both Chairman of Newcastle Permanent Building Society and Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation for almost 10 years. It recognises the achievements and contribution of an outstanding individual and the impact volunteers make to our community.

“For this inaugural Medal, the selection panel was in search of a recipient that held qualities which echoed those of our good friend and colleague, Mike,” Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation Chair, Phil Neat said.

Nominations for the Medal were opened to organisations that the Foundation had supported for the past three years. The nominations were then assessed against a set of criteria.

“Trying to select the best person was such a difficult decision; every volunteer should be acknowledged” Phil continued.

“We chose Damian because we believed he embodied the spirit of Mike—his passion and his service to the community—echoed those of our friend. That’s why we selected him,” Phil said.

Damian has volunteered for Camp Quality for the past eight years and in that time he’s raised more than $100,000 for the charity.

“Volunteers are the backbone of our organisation,” said Michelle Youngberry from Camp Quality. “They provide our charity with valuable enthusiasm, knowledge, and energy to help deliver our services to local communities.

“Damian is so inspirational,” she said. “He’s generous in giving of his time, his knowledge, and more important to that, in coming up with ideas to create some exceptional events.”

Damian has been credited with the creation of Camp Quality’s annual Motocyc event which is now in its third year. A three-day event, Motocyc consists of 40 to 50 motorcycle riders who take part in a distance ride, such as from Queensland to Newcastle, and raise funds for Camp Quality along the way.

“The Motocyc event is still such a new event, but in its first year raised $41,000 and in its second year raised $91,000. With that amount of money, you can only imagine the things we can do for our families,” Michelle said.

“For the past eight years he has tirelessly supported kids and their families impacted by cancer. He is constantly on the lookout for ways he, his business, and his business connections, can further support Camp Quality.”

Damian is the proprietor of Jayco Newcastle and Hunter Valley Homes and actively uses his business and his network to raise the funds for Camp Quality.

“As a business person I have a lot of resources available to me. It’s really just a matter of getting up and actually doing something about it,” said Damian “My own father died from cancer at a very young age and I saw what that did to him,” Damian recalls.

Chairman’s Medal recipient: Damian Charleston
Chairman’s Medal recipient: Damian Charleson
2018 Chairman’s Medal recipient Damian Charleson

NEWCASTLE PERMANENT CHARITABLE FOUNDATION CHAIR PHIL NEAT

We started looking at how we could recognise Mike Slater's service to the Newcastle Permanent and the Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation, where he was Chairman for 10 years.

We thought about it long and hard and we negotiated with Mike and we came to a compromise in the sense of saying it was the Chairman's Medal not the Michael Slater Medal. And then we had the hardest choice out trying to select the best person because every volunteer should be acknowledged.

It's Damian Charleson who does work for Camp Quality and he's a great nominee and winner of the Chairman's Medal.

MICHELLE YOUNGBERRY, CAMP QUALITY

Over the time – the 8 years – that Damian has been with us, he's personally raised over $100,000.

Damian is without a doubt one of a kind.

He embodies everything that our organisation is all about.

He's always looking at the bright side of life, the element of fun that comes with it, the culture, the sensitivity around our families.

We couldn't be without him. 

DAMIAN CHARLESON

I've been involved with Camp Quality for 8 years now.

My father died from cancer at a very young age and I saw what that did to him and I guess it tore at my heartstrings in relation to, you know, how all the kids go through that. 

So Motocyc has been a three-day event, or a four-day event, over the last couple of years and generally the riding is 40 or 50 riders riding from anywhere from Queensland back to Newcastle.

I was lost for words when you know the girls from Camp Quality called me up and there was a lot of yelling and screaming on the phone but you know, Camp Quality is such a fun and fantastic organisation, and the people within that, but you know I feel very humbled getting this award.

I think as a business person I have a lot of resources and it's really just a matter of getting up and actually doing something about it.

For me it's just about giving something back.

I guess it tore at my heartstrings in relation to how little kids go through that, which is why I was drawn to Camp Quality.

Chairman’s Medal recipient, Damian Charleson

“It’s such a fun and fantastic organisation. They don’t just support families going through a difficult time, they also teach and give (healthy) kids a really good message about what cancer’s about and what kids with cancer go through.”

When asked about receiving the inaugural Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation Chairman’s Medal, Damian recalls the phone call from the Camp Quality team.

“I was lost for words when they called me and gave me the news. There was lots of yelling and screaming on the phone,” he said through a chuckle.

However, it is evident that Damian is humbled by this recognition, “For me it’s just about giving something back,” Damian said.

“Damian is without a doubt one of a kind. He embodies everything our organisation is all about. He’s always looking at the bright side of life. We couldn’t be without him,” concluded Michelle.

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