By Jessica Anstice
Berwick Pastor Kerrigan La-Brooy has been widely recognised this year for his mind-blowing involvement in the local community for the amazing work his does.
Mr La-Brooy won the 2018 Casey Volunteer Pair Award in July, along with his wife, Michelle.
This well-deserved recognition comes in appreciation of the ongoing contributions and sacrifices this couple makes for everyone around them.
Mr La-Brooy is the Senior Pastor of Gethsemane Church in Berwick which he planted in April 2017.
He’s also the founder and creator of Gethsemane Charity, which feeds and clothes over 400 people daily, seven days a week. In addition to the church and charity, together with Mrs La-Brooy and their six children (all 10 years and younger), the
La-Brooy family run a free Talent Academy, an opportunity shop and they host the Clyde Carols by Candlelight each year.
Mr and Mrs La-Brooy work tirelessly, from way before sunrise to way past sunset.
In fact, Mr La-Brooy often operates on two to three hours sleep and one meal a day.
Kerrigan is quick to acknowledge the help and support of his congregation.
“Team Gethsemane give their time selflessly and committedly to make all these services possible and accessible,” he said.
Gethsemane Church was nominated for four awards at the City of Casey award ceremony in July.
Mr La-Brooy was also nominated for Casey Citizen of the year and was the recipient of a Holt Australia Day Award.
“My vision, mission and passion is to spread the love of Jesus throughout the community whether it’s acknowledged or not,” he said.
“I would rather shy away from the attention and I am eager to include Team Gethsemane in everything.
“For Gethsemane to accomplish all this in just over one year is truly a staggering achievement.”
Gethsemane runs a food relief program feeding the homeless and the hungry.
The food includes bread, bakery products, pies, croissants, fruit, vegetables, eggs, drinks, meats and other necessities.
Last Christmas period Mr La-Brooy said he “felt blessed” to put food on the table for around five thousand people.
Gethsemane Charity operates from Gethsemane Church on Sundays and the other six days of the week from Mr and Mrs La-Brooys home, where people stop by and help themselves.
Gethsemane also runs Triple Treat Talent Academy where children are taught to act, sing and dance at no cost.
Mr O’Brooy said he “understands that affordability is often a problem for parents” and he “doesn’t want the children to miss out on an opportunity to harness their God-given talents”.
The opportunity shop operates from their home, where the couple and their children have long run out of space for themselves.
The idea behind the op shop is not to sell anything; so if someone couldn’t afford even one dollar, they could feel free to help themselves to clothing, furniture and bric-a-brac.