AVI is very sad to announce the recent passing of David Penman – returned volunteer, former committee member, staff member and Deputy CEO. David passed away in Adelaide on February 28th.
David’s association with AVI goes back to 1974 when he volunteered as a Secondary Teacher at Leulumoega - Fou College in Samoa. The experience proved to be life changing in more ways than one. Not only did David come on staff at AVI in 1989 (staying through to 2004), but in Samoa he met his lifelong partner, fellow volunteer Roger Pryor.
David served on the Committee of AVI before joining the staff as State Representative for Victoria and Tasmania – a role that enabled him to utilise his extensive communications skills in recruiting new volunteers and mobilising returned volunteers.
In 1991 he left Australia to open AVI’s first international office in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. On his return he led many initiatives including AVI’s first comprehensive computerised information system which is still in use today. He also oversaw AVI’s youth programming, recognising that it was imperative that young Australians continue to have the opportunity to volunteer internationally. David was also responsible for securing AVI’s first workplace agreement with the Workers Union.
Arguably his greatest contribution was as Deputy CEO to Bill Armstrong. Bill and David were a great team together and took the organisation to new regions. It was a new scale of operation but one that never veered from the guiding principles of volunteerism set by AVI’s founders.
David will be remembered for his wicked sense of humour, his fierce intellect, his great love of classical music, his great compassion and belief in the good that accrues when people of different cultures come together.
Our thoughts are with the Roger and David's family and friends.