John Tunbridge, Medowie NSW
From bingo to roadside lifesaver, John Tunbridge places community at the centre of his focus.
He was helping with bingo when one of the other volunteers involved asked John “if I could get my hands dirty” and help operate the Medowie Driver Reviver site.
“I thought: `If I'm helping out here, I may as well help with some other stuff’. And that's how it fell into place.”
These days, John is essentially a fulltime volunteer, donating about 30 hours a week of his time, effort and expertise to the role of Medowie Lions Club president.
“There’s always a lot of challenges because we're a very busy club,” he says. “I love it.”
Aged “forty-nine, ninety-five plus GST”, John has managed the Driver Reviver program for six years as part of the presidency.
Medowie Lions Club, chartered in 1983, has operated the Driver Reviver site for more than 20 years.
Recently on 8 January 2023, Medowie had approximately 1,000 vehicles pulling in and 336 cups of tea and coffee were served.
In fact, Medowie and nearby Raymond Terrace sites were recognised by Port Stephens State MP Kate Washington for their community efforts in providing a safe stop for about 1500 motorists combined that weekend.
“It was fabulous!” John says.
“We received an official letter, which was greatly appreciated.”
Located at the end of Medowie Road where it meets the Pacific Highway, Medowie site is the last Driver Reviver before Sydney.
“Sometimes you just feel like telling people they’re idiots for driving for hours and hours without stopping.”
“A lot of international people who pull into the site say it would be an awesome thing if their countries would adopt it.”
“There’s nothing like it anywhere else in the world,” John says.
Medowie site is staffed by 34 volunteers and open on public holidays as well as further days over Christmas when needed.