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Meet the staff: Sue O'Toole

Sue has been working with Feros Care and In Great Company for a long time, and she enjoys both the work she does and the support she can show to clients and colleagues alike. We sat down to talk about her life journey that has led her here. 

What’s your name?

Sue O’Toole

What’s your background in life and in work? 

I from the UK, born in Yorkshire (yes, I’m a Yorkshire lass!) and came to Australia as a 10-pound pom with my parents and 2 older brothers.  Thankfully it wasn’t a “leaky boat” after spending 6 weeks across the ocean.

We settled in the south of Adelaide near the beautiful beaches. I lost my father at 8 years of age, and my brothers were both married so my mum and I were extremely close. I moved to Brisbane at the age of 19 and spread my wings working for a mining company. At 21 I returned to Adelaide.

When I turned 23 we lost my oldest brother who many years before had had a kidney transplant.

I was working in the building industry for Balderstone Hornibrook as a Site Secretary where I like to say “I” built the Commonwealth Centre and the News Limited buildings. This is where I met my first husband, however it only lasted 3 years.

Years later I fell in love with my second husband and had 2 beautiful boys.  Eventually moving to the Barossa Valley where we spent 7 wonderful years. I worked as a Recruitment Consultant supplying labour to wineries including Wolf Blass, and the big bottling halls. My husband did a vintage with Grant Burge as well as working for Barossa Valley Hire.

After losing my mother who had followed us to the Barossa, we decided to have a sea change and move to the Northern Rivers as we had been coming up to the Gold Coast for holidays with the boys and loved it here. So, in 2007 we packed up and moved to Tweed Heads. We both found work quickly and the kids settled into their new school. A year later my husband found out he had a rare brain tumour that (as it turned out) he was born with, so then began the journey for the next 3 years of surgeries and battling to enjoy as much of life as he could. Sadly, he passed away in September of 2008.

The boys became my life, and we were very involved in the local tennis club at Terranora Tennis club for the next 6 years and even managed to win a few finals. They have grown into independent young men who I am very proud of with great jobs. I joined Feros Care once I was able to work full time again and have been here ever since in different roles.

What are some of your hobbies and interests? 

I played social tennis, but the knees don’t like it anymore so now I enjoy watching it instead. I have a lovely big pool in my backyard which I love to swim in when it’s hot. I live near the Tweed River, so I often go for walks in the mornings or after work. I also joined the darts club at South Tweed Sports for a while with my eldest son until COVID hit, but we still love to play darts when possible.

Could you tell us about your psychic ability and Angel cards?

Being a spiritual person, I also have an interest in Angel cards.  I just love my Angel cards and draw a card when I feel the need, especially if I’m not sure what direction I want to take.  So far, they have helped me a lot to make decisions or give guidance.  I even put this job out into the universe and asked my angels, as I knew it was something I really wanted to do, which is helping our lonely seniors - and here I am!

I have also helped a few people over the years, it helps clarify their questions and just know if you are on the right track. Now I even do them with my work colleagues and team members.

What motivates you to get going every day?

I love to get up and go for a walk in anticipation of seeing the dolphins in the river.  I do look forward to my job every day as well, it helps when you love what you do.

What is the most recent exciting event or news?

We finally got to have our “joint” party after 4 attempts. We called it our 103rd birthday celebration, with both the boys having COVID 21sts (2020 and 2021) and not being able to celebrate and I also had a major birthday in December (I will let you work out how old I was). A lot less people attended, but my family from Melbourne, Newcastle and Sydney whom we hadn’t seen them for over a year managed to come, so it was great to spend time together.

Can you please share with us one of your memorable moment or stories from the past?

My youngest son completed the Kokoda Youth Foundation a few years ago which is an 18-month program and saw them go to PNG and walk the Kokoda track after 12 months of training.  He also received the Doug Henderson Medal at the Graduation event for the person who got the most out of it and grew the most. My eldest son at the same time went to Uganda and did a 3-week mission with a group of youth from his diocese. Two very proud moments seeing them come through those airport doors exhausted but it changed their lives and mine.

Any last words or thoughts? 

My new mantra is “Don’t make someone a priority when they only make you the option”.

Stay positive and my glass is always half full. 

If you'd like to become a volunteer with In Great Company and make a senior's life less lonely, you can do so here.

Young man and senior man fishing

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