Merriwa was a very different company when Operations Support Manager, Ruth Belan, joined the company on 23 September 1998.
“Merriwa was much smaller. There was only the timber division, packaging division and defence industries. We offered day programs for those with disabilities, but not respite or residential services,” Ruth said.
Joining a small team of day program support workers after Merriwa acquired the services from another organisation, Ruth soon found herself promoted to the role of Day Services Co-ordinator. She oversaw the introduction of respite services and eventually several residential care properties in the region.
Relocating with her family from Buckland Valley to Moyhu, Ruth was based at Merriwa’s Newman St premises, saying “As Merriwa has grown and evolved, I’ve had to move offices quite a few times!”.
“It has been wonderful to see the company go from strength to strength.”
Ruth said she has been delighted to see the development of Merriwa’s supported employees.
“I have had the privilege of seeing some of our young children – some as young as four years of age – who received support services from Merriwa, grow into wonderful adults who are now working with us as supported employees or receiving support through day services.
“We are focused on helping everyone at Merriwa reach their potential,” Ruth said.
Over the years Ruth has needed to stay abreast of legislative changes and the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Like many regional centres, maintaining an adequate workforce is an ongoing challenge. Ruth points out though, that once a person joins the Merriwa team “they usually stay!”.
Ruth said the role of Operations Support Manager is “the best job in the world.” She enjoys the unpredictable, “no-two-days-are-ever-the-same” environment.
“The best times can come from the smallest things, perhaps when one of our clients or supported employees accomplish something new. The smiles I see make my role so enjoyable,” Ruth said.
Outside of Merriwa, Ruth is family-oriented and enjoys spending time exploring the environment with her gorgeous three-year-old grandson Jensen.
Congratulations on your 20th anniversary Ruth and thank you for your wonderful help.