One of the first things I did when I arrived into Nowra to Pastor Nowra City Church in October of 2000, was to go and meet the then Federal Member for Gilmore, Joanna Gash. Yesterday, with just three more days to go before my family leave Nowra and move to Queensland, I had lunch with the former Member for Gilmore and now Shoalhaven Mayor Jo Gash.
Over the last 15 years Jo and I have journeyed together, she as a Politician and I as her Pastor, I have come to admire greatly this incredible woman. I doubt you could find a civic leader more hard working or more passionate for their city (or seat) than Jo Gash.
Many times I would drive into Nowra CBD late at night and the Jo Gash van would be outside her office and I knew she was there working hard for the people of the Shoalhaven.
Many times I would have a coffee with Jo, and I would hear her heart for her constituents, her passion for her job, and her love of not only the seat of Gilmore but also her nation.
Jo has always been encouraging to me as a community leader and I have appreciated this. Her input into my journey has been invaluable to me.
In my world I like to champion women as I think they, on the main, get a rough deal in the way they are treated around the world, and I would suggest that Jo Gash is a poster woman for women in leadership around the world.
As a politician, both Federal and Local, Jo has had her detractors:- Which I know goes with the territory, but I think they need to take a breather and actually look at what Jo has achieved. I smile in one sense at the detractors as there are a few higher profile ones and I note that they have achieved very little in life compared to the admirable achievements of Jo in her public life.
I write this blog as an acknowledgement of my friendship for Jo. But more than that. I write this blog as a resident of Nowra who has appreciated having a federal member passionate for the area she represents and now as Mayor, equally passionate for the city of the Shoalhaven.
Thank you Jo.
Ps Peter Pilt
National Director Global Care