Bendigo and District Aboriginal Co-operative’s new tribute to a much-loved late employee is a fitting way to honour his memory, his partner says.
At next year’s NAIDOC Awards, BDAC will award its inaugural Phil Brusch Scholarship to an Aboriginal year 11 or 12 student who has a high level of school attendance and achieved well academically.
The scholarship winner will receive $2000 to put towards their further education.
Mr Brusch’s partner, Sue Tuitupou, said the creation of a scholarship helping young people was something he would have liked.
“He would have loved that, because one of the most important things to him was mentoring young people to be leaders in the future,” Ms Tuitupou said.
Mr Brusch was BDAC’s finance manager for more than 11 years, and was well-respected in the Aboriginal and wider Bendigo community.
Tragically, Mr Brusch died suddenly last August.
BDAC deputy chief executive officer Baydon Widdicombe worked with Mr Brusch for four years and said he was a “great mentor, team player and would always make decisions based on the best outcome for the Aboriginal community”.
“Phil was a quiet achiever and the experience and knowledge that he had of BDAC is difficult to replace,” Mr Widdicombe said.
“Phil would be the first person to volunteer at community events and would always pitch in to help others.”
Ms Tuitupou said her partner was a kind person, who cared deeply about the Aboriginal community and Aboriginal affairs.
"He was a really wonderful, kind, caring, dedicated person... He is greatly missed by everyone,” she said.
Ms Tuitupou felt really proud of Mr Brusch when she learnt about the scholarship and said it was “a really, really nice thing they did to honour Phil's memory, because he was such a nice person”.
She now hopes to do something to help it become available to more young people.
“I'd really like to do some fundraising and see it grow so a lot of other young Aboriginal people can complete year 12 and go on to further education,” she said.
The scholarship is funded by BDAC and the Bendigo NAIDOC Committee.