Healthy community ties

Geraldton Guardian

After five-and-a-half years in Geraldton, St John of God Geraldton Hospital chief executive Paul Dyer and his family are relocating to Perth.

Mr Dyer will take up the inaugural chief executive role at St John of God Midland Private Hospital, which will be the fourth hospital he has worked at in the past 17 years.

In an interview with the Geraldton Guardian, Mr Dyer reflected on a busy and rewarding time in Geraldton where he has been an active community member.

He said the shift he had made from inner western Sydney to Geraldton in 2012 was a dramatic change in lifestyle.

“Geraldton was a significant shock to the system for our family,” he said.

“The first week here it didn’t go below 40 degrees and the wind never seemed to stop blowing.

“We were thankful our house had a pool.”

Mr Dyer quickly became involved in humanitarian activities, joining youth service club Apex, becoming chair of social enterprise Pollinators and being a committee member of local running club, the Geraldton Harriers.

“I believe strongly that grassroots volunteering makes a big difference and if you are a younger person, Apex is a great way to start off your volunteering career,” he said.

He said he had been inspired by Andrew Outhwaite and Angie West of Pollinators.

“I have met some amazingly talented and intelligent people while working with Pollinators and have experienced and learned things I never would have running a hospital. I will miss City Hive and the West End very much when I leave town, but will continue to watch Pollinators from afar,” he said.

The serial marathon runner did not forget the Harriers.

“I really enjoyed my time in the club and was privileged to serve on the committee for a couple of years and help with organising a RunFest,” he said.

“I even managed to join the tri club for a year and did a couple of triathlons, despite a huge fear of getting eaten by a shark. I always tried to swim between the other swimmers and the beach.”

Geraldton helped make family time extra fun for the Dyers, who regularly participated in local sports, beach activities and took trips to the Abrolhos Islands.

Mr Dyer said his experiences at the islands will never be forgotten.

“Every time I went I was just blown away by their rugged, raw beauty,” he said.

“I speared my first fish at the Abrolhos, and then cooked it on the boat for dinner, an experience I will honestly never forget.”

Mr Dyer said although Geraldton didn’t have a lot of high-end restaurants, there were some local eateries he couldn’t help but recommend.

“Salt Dish was always my absolute favourite restaurant in Geraldton; they used to do a prawn linguini that would knock your socks off,” he said.

“I will also miss the coffee and croissants from Culinary HQ, coffee and cronuts from The Quiet Life, jaffles from The Jaffle Shack and the poached eggs from Fleur. I also enjoyed the occasional cold pint and pizza from The Provincial.”

Although Mr Dyer’s attention was split by a number of different activities during his time in Geraldton, he has admitted his true calling was service to St John of God Geraldton Hospital.

“The bulk of my working time and my true passion in Geraldton was running the local private hospital,” he said.

“I had a great team there and will miss them dearly.”

Though he is waving goodbye to Geraldton, Paul Dyer hopes to one day to be back, albeit to a city which has embraced longer shopping hours and the largest Kmart store in the Southern Hemisphere.

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